St. Louis Blues place Carl Gunnarsson on Long Term IR

Carl Gunnarsson
SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 08: Carl Gunnarsson #4 of the St. Louis Blues skates with the puck against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 8, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues have placed defenceman Carl Gunnarsson on the long-term injured reserve list. The defender is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered in March of last year, as well as off-season surgery on his hip. Gunnarsson is back on the ice, skating, but has not yet been cleared for contact.

St. Louis Blues defenceman Carl Gunnarsson out until at least November

Prior to his injury, Gunnarsson had been a quiet success story for the Blues. He put up 15 points in 63 games last year. While the offensive numbers are not that impressive, what has been impressive are his abilities on the defensive end. Gunnarsson blocked 102 shots last season. This is almost double what he totalled in 2016-17. Gunnarsson was a strong defensive player in a lineup that has seen their defensive lapses. He fought for a spot as the sixth defenseman on the team this year, often being sidelined in favour of Vince Dunn or Robert Bortuzzo. He found his niche in the defensive zone and won over head coach Mike Yeo as a result.

The Blues will also be without Bortuzzo for the season opener.  Fellow defenseman Joel Edmundson is questionable to be ready to play on Thursday. The team also traded for Jakub Jerabek from the Edmonton Oilers, but he is designated as “non-roster” to start the season.

For the short-term, the Blues will look to young defenders Niko Mikkola, Jordan Schmaltz, and Chris Butler to fill in while they deal with injury issues.

The Blues have also suffered injuries up front as Oskar Sundqvist suffered a concussion and shoulder injury in Sunday’s pre-season finale against the Washington Capitals.

 

Main Photo: SAN JOSE, CA – MARCH 08: Carl Gunnarsson #4 of the St. Louis Blues skates with the puck against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 8, 2018, in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

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