The St. Louis Blues were one of many teams to benefit from the NHL’s extended holiday break as St. Louis is primed to get massive reinforcements.
The St. Louis Blues, like many teams, have been hit hard by COVID in recent months. The Blues had to play with a roster that resembled preseason games in September, but the team still finds themselves one point from the top spot in the Central Division.
St. Louis hasn’t played a game since December 19, a 2-4 loss to Winnipeg in Jordan Binnington‘s return to the lineup. The Blues were without Jordan Kyrou, Oskar Sundqvist, Robert Thomas, and David Perron.
Now, coming out of the mandated break, the Blues are set to get almost all of those players back in the lineup before the game against the Oilers and the Winter Classic against the Wild.
Perron, Kyrou, and Thomas are all expected back in the team’s first game against Edmonton. At the same time, James Neal and Sundqvist are also close to returning to the lineup.
While the Blues are still without Ville Husso, almost every St. Louis Blue is ready to go. Klim Kostin, fresh off his rehab assignment with the Springfield Thunderbirds, will also return to St. Louis.
Many factors have contributed to the team’s success during this stretch of injuries and illnesses. However, the one thing you can point to is the depth at the AHL level with the Thunderbirds.
Lindgren perhaps has had the biggest contribution to the team and has yet to lose a game between the pipes for the Blues. He has five starts under his belt and is 5-0-0 with a .958 save percentage and a 1.22 GAA.
Without Lindgren, the Blues would have to have acquired a backup goalie with NHL experience, or they would have to continue to roll with players like Jon Gilles or Joel Hofer for an extended period.
The young forwards have also helped the Blues during the month of December. Thunderbirds have been placed up and down the lineup and have especially filled out the third and fourth lines for the Blues.
They have relied on players with NHL experience like Walker and Dakota Joshua, but the rookies have stepped up in a big way and have kept the Blues in games by playing important minutes.
Still, the season’s hero so far for St. Louis was the NHL’s decision to put the games on hold for Christmas, allowing players to go home to their families and creating more time for Blues players to get healthy again. The Blues are dangerously close to getting back to a full lineup.