Defenseman Marco Scandella was activated from long-term IR yesterday, setting up his season debut for the St. Louis Blues’ next outing at the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes (2/21, 6 pm CT)
Scandella has not played a game this season because of right hip surgery, but has been practicing regularly with the Blues for the last month. The next game the 32-year-old D-man appears in will be his 700th career NHL game.
The Blues also activated fellow defenseman Scott Perunovich from the same list. The Blues subsequently sent him to St. Louis’ AHL affiliate in Springfield. With Scandella and Perunovich off the long-term unavailable list, the Blues no longer need to use the salary-cap relief tool.
Originally acquired by the Blues at the 2020 trade deadline, Scandella has played 130 career games for St. Louis, with six goals and 18 assists. He is signed for one more season after this one, at a $3.275 million cap hit.
Making room for Scandella meant the Blues had to shuffle things around a bit more than usual, such as sending LW Jake Neighbours down to Springfield in a paper move. Neighbours himself suffered a lower-body injury in the Blues’ 7-2 shellacking by the Ottawa Senators this past Sunday and is seemingly out for a while, according to head coach Craig Berube.
Neighbours is a 1st round 2020 draft pick and has played in 30 games this season with 4 goals and four assists. He is expected to be re-evaluated in 5 weeks’ time.
Scandella, meanwhile, looks to make 3 months worth of skating practice pay off when the Blues will need him most in a contest against one of the NHL’s best teams. The 2008 2nd-round Minnesota draft pick journeyman has spent time with the Wild, Sabres, and Canadiens before ending up in St. Louis, where he’s scored 24 points during his time wearing the Blue Note sweater.
It took former Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester quite some time to be himself following his own hip surgery. St. Louis is hoping Scandella is more fully recovered so they can evaluate him along with the rest of the team heading into the 2023 offseason.