In the worst possible stroke of luck, the St. Louis Blues have placed star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on the injured reserve list. Pietrangelo missed a few minutes in the first period of Saturday’s game, after blocking a shot, but came back to finish the game. He actually ended up with two points in the game, both being assists. He had to sit out of Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres and was considered day-to-day. On Tuesday the team officially placed him on injured reserve, and have not released a timetable for his return.
St. Louis Blues Place Defenceman Alex Pietrangelo on Injured Reserve
Pietrangelo looked like he was on his way to competing for his first Norris Trophy. So far this year, he’s been a staple of the team’s offence. The 27-year-old has registered 23 points in 30 games. It’s hard to say that Pietrangelo’s improved over the summer. After nine seasons of elite play for the Blues, it didn’t seem he could be much better. But, he proved everyone wrong this year. The Blues captain has been much more explosive and aggressive. His skating seems to have a lot more power behind it, and he’s been flaunting the offensive mindset he showed off when he was younger.
Replacement from the Farm
To replace the top liner, the Blues recalled Jordan Schmaltz. Schmaltz has been dominating the AHL this season. In 25 games with the San Antonio Rampage, Schmaltz scored 19 points. He has been the top defenceman for the Rampage and earned the call-up. Now, he finally has a chance to show his worth at the NHL level. Prior to this season, Schmaltz played in nine NHL games, with two assists. If Pietrangelo is out for more than a few games, it’s very likely Schmaltz makes the lineup. With the recent success of rookie Vince Dunn, head coach Mike Yeo could take a risk on the rookie Schmaltz too.
Before this call-up, Schmaltz was fighting with Jake Walman to be the top defenseman in the Blues farm system. Schmaltz registered 11 more points than Walman. Now, Schmaltz is fighting with Dunn for a spot in the NHL. Both D are promising young players and could do well with the Blues. Unfortunately for Schmaltz, Dunn has a head start on him and has looked good in the NHL. It will be a close contest, and there’s no saying how long it will last. That time will come when Pietrangelo is ready to return.