Blues Struggle with Shortened Bench

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Carl Gunnarsson #4 of the St. Louis Blues skates back for the puck against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

By Patrick Kelly

While the St. Louis Blues already seemed to have injuries piling up at a time when the team is struggling, more names have been added to the list along with clarity concerning the extent of the injuries. Carl Gunnarsson was injured Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings and it was announced he will miss the rest of the season due to a right knee injury. The 34-year-old defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and the extent of his injury will more than likely cement his status for next year.

Meanwhile, on the offensive side, the Blues said Ivan Barbashev will be reevaluated in six weeks because of the left ankle injury he sustained last week.

With the added injuries, the Blues are now short two defensemen and five regular forwards as they continue to struggle. The Blues have lost three of their last four games and have been shut out in two of those games. While the Blues were praised for their depth before the season, no one could have predicted what is currently affecting them.

While the Blues have been losing to teams below them in the standings, they will need to figure out something quickly with a shortened bench. Over the next 29 days, the Blues will only play four different teams with Vegas being the only one not lower than the Blues in point percentage in the standings.

However, it’s not all bad news as Vladimir Tarasenko is making a lot of progress in practice as well as Tyler Bozak who didn’t skate with the team Tuesday but has been seen out with the team in a no-contact jersey. Any relief would be welcome if it means the return of one of their top goal scorers, which would hopefully bode well over during the month of March.