The St. Louis Blues might finally be turning a corner with regard to the injury bug. Of course, that statement demands we all find a giant piece of wood to knock on, but for now it seems true.
We know that Tyler Bozak is all but 100% sure to play in the team’s next game against the Los Angeles Kings, whenever that is. There is also a chance that Jaden Schwartz could return in the same game.
If the forward does not return to the Blues in Los Angeles, he will definitely be back at some point on their second west coast road trip. With so many players playing above their normal rank and pulling extra duties, these returns could not come at a better time.
We should not expect Schwartz or Bozak to immediately help on the stat sheet. However, just their presence returns other players to roles more suited to them and balances the roster.
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The odd thing about the Schwartz situation has been how misleading it has been. That is not to say anyone gave misinformation, but it has not made sense from the start.
Schwartz’ last game was on February 12 when the team was in the never ending series against the Arizona Coyotes. He sustained a lower-body injury and has missed 14 games and counting.
What was so odd about Schwartz’s injury was that after missing the next game, the television crew told us that he would have been available if the team was playing in a playoff game 7. Being cautious is understandable, but if you could possibly soldier through in the playoffs, how do you miss 14 games?
This is not an accusation, but merely a question of thought. It seems if he could have played if the team’s life was on the line then we would have been talking a handful of games at most. Schwartz has missed half the season to this point. It had to have been something more nagging than we were led to believe.
Regardless, the fact Schwartz might return cannot be overstated. It’s nothing but a good thing.
St. Louis needs these guys back. They’ve been hit by injuries as much or more than any other team in the NHL.
The Blues have had as many as seven players listed on injured reserve at once. That doesn’t even include Schwartz, who was never taken off the active roster. As Thomas pointed out, it’s also the most in the NHL. Nashville is the only other team with seven players on IR and 24 of the 31 current NHL teams have three or fewer players on IR at one time.
The Blues just hit the halfway point of the 2021 season. If they can get more and more guys healthy and get back on track, this will benefit them.
Returning players won’t have as many miles on them. The Blues will also have more experience to rely on, should they have to lean on anyone like Dakota Joshua again in the future.
You never want to lose a player the caliber of Schwartz or any of the others. The Blues have done a decent job of pushing onward, though it has not been great.
Maybe within a week or two, we can see something resembling the team and style we anticipated when 2021 began.