Each season, it seems to happen. Injuries take their toll, and the Blues are forced to overcome adversity. How will they overcome the recent injured Blues?
Today, I’ll be discussing what possible moves will be to fill a void left on the team. Injuries have put forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester on injured reserve. Both are important pieces of the club. So, how will these injured Blues be replaced?
Hockey is a rough sport. These guys get banged up on a nightly basis. It’s likely that the fans only hear about a small percentage of the actual injuries that take place in this business, and players are often playing through them.
Jay Bouwmeester has been doing just that since December 10th, when he, unfortunately, injured his hip. He’s been well aware that he would eventually need surgery, but he’d elected to wait and play out the season if possible.
Since the incident, he had been receiving pre-game injections on the regular to reduce the pain. Jay is one tough dude. He’s been able to attend very few practices recently with the Blues, and it’s said that St. Louis was aware that Jay was on borrowed time.
Eventually, Bouwmeester fell awkwardly, and that was the last straw. The timetable for Jay is 5 or 6 months, so he’s finished for the season. I will be discussing who could possibly fill his shoes. The veteran averaged just over 20 minutes a game.
Blues will surely miss one of the hardest working and most consistent players on their team. The 4th line left-wing is much appreciated by fans, and I’m sad to see him go down myself. Scottie Upshall has brought it all season long for St. Louis.
He’s been reported to have sprained his MCL and will be re-evaluated in 4 weeks. Scottie really leads by example with his energy and consistency. He will be missed more than Bouwmeester in my opinion, regardless of him holding a lesser role.
Filling The Void
Some players are going to have to take on more responsibility. Also, with Upshall and Bouwmeester out of the mix, Coach Yeo will be forced to bring in some new bodies. Who might they be? Here are some possible candidates.
The Return of Edmundson
Joel Edmundson is one of my favorite defensemen on the club. While there is no timetable for his return, he did practice in full gear with the club yesterday. He was originally injured blocking a shot. Eddie has 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points in 56 games.
I personally can’t wait for Joel to get back. I feel that the team has missed him quite a lot. He brings a lot of diversity in his game. He’s young, skilled, and a true professional. The sooner the Blues get Joel Edmundson back, the better.
One option for Yeo would be to bring up the veteran defenseman, Chris Butler, but I don’t think that it will happen. I’ll explain why. The Saint Louis native has been called up twice this year, and he holds a -3 +/- rating. I could be wrong, and Coach might feel Butler deserves another go.
Chris has played a total of 390 NHL games. He’s scored 13 times and he’s registered 71 assists for 84 points. Butler is, unfortunately -34 in his NHL career. I believe he is an AHL player at best and hope that he stays with the San Antonio Rampage where he can be effective.
Another guy that many Blues fans would like to see get a shot is Jake Walman. This is another defenseman that I believe will not get a call-up. The 22-year-old and has zero NHL experience. I am anticipating his NHL career, but I don’t see him making his debut this season.
Jake has scored 1 goal and has tallied 3 assists in 9 games with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL this season. He has also played 40 games with the Chicago Wolves this year where he has totaled 2 goals and 11 assists
The Madison, Wisconsin native was originally selected 25th in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. He’ll be getting the first shot. He’s been called on and he’ll play against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. Any chance of the other guys getting called up pretty much depends on what Jordan can do.
Schmaltz has played 7 games for the Blues this season but hasn’t registered any points. In 16 total NHL games; Jordan has registered 2 assists. He ranks 0 in plus-minus so he hasn’t been a defensive let down. However, he hasn’t produced offensively yet either.
Schmaltz has a lot of potential and I look forward to watching him get this opportunity. It’s very likely that Mike Yeo switches things up if he doesn’t like what he sees, but I think Schmaltz is the top candidate to receive the opportunity.
This is a name that keeps coming up. St. Louis Blues fans really want to get a good look at this kid. If you do, I suggest attending a San Antonio Rampage game, because I don’t see the 18-year old coming to the NHL this season.
General Manager, Doug Armstrong has made it clear that he likes Klim where he is. While Kostin may have the size to play in the NHL, he still needs time to mature as a hockey player. Klim has scored 6 goals and has registered 13 assists in 50 total games with San Antonio.
I think that Zach Sanford will be called up soon and I think he’s the right guy for the job. #12 has 4 goals and 4 assists in 39 games played in the NHL. He holds a +2 +/- rating and the Blues could really use another big body.
Zach is a smart player that flies under the radar. We haven’t seen much of him due to his shoulder injury this season, but if it weren’t for that, he would have been part of the active roster all year. He’s an NHL player. Sanford has been getting some games under his belt in San Antonio since jumping off the IR.
Oscar has played a total of 31 games for St. Louis this season, registering 3 assists. Mike Yeo seems to use him when he needs to, so it’s possible that we see some more of Sundqvist down the stretch. As I said earlier, I think it depends on how well Zach Sanford performs. I see Zach simply reclaiming his roster spot. I think Oscar Sundqvist is the next guy up.
It’s going to be tough. Scottie Upshall and Jay Bouwmeester bring a lot of veteran leadership to the club. They’ll still be behind the scenes supporting their team, but the Blues sure have some work cut out for themselves. These injuries become opportunities for other players that are hungry though, and that’s something to look forward to.
Many Blues fans want to see the kids in the note. I understand that it’s exciting and you want a glimpse of the future. I just don’t see it happening right now. It’s unnecessary at the moment. Now, if the Blues fall far off from the playoffs, I could see the possibility of giving one of the youngsters a few NHL games.
As of right now, the Blues are still in contention as far as they see it. That’s going to keep NHL ready players on the ice for the most part. These injuries are part of the business, and using your depth is part of the game. I see Zach Sanford, and Jordan Schmaltz fitting in nicely and giving the Blues a chance to win. In the meantime, there are other options if things don’t work out for those two.