The St. Louis blueline is about to get a test.
All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is out indefinitely after suffering an injury that will require abdominal surgery according to the Blues. The team said Shattenkirk will have surgery at some point in the next seven-to-10 days and then he will be ‘week-to-week.’ Incredibly vague NHL injury report? DRINK!
The injury occurred on this play in Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals on a hit by Alex Ovechkin.
Per Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The Norris Trophy candidate was off to his best year in five NHL seasons, scoring eight goals and posting 40 points, which ranks second among all defensemen in the league. He recently played in the first All-Star Game of his career, netting one goal and an assist.
In his third game back since the All-Star appearance, Shattenkirk was injured about 3 1/2 minutes into Sunday's game in Washington.
He broke up what could have been a breakaway by Alexander Ovechkin, but in the process was knocked down and then slid into the boards.
Shattenkirk got up, moved slowly to the bench, went down the tunnel to the dressing room and didn’t return.
This would be put in the ‘major blow’ department as far as injuries go. Shattenkirk was an offensive weapon for the Blues and had 40 points in 49 games for St. Louis. His 5-on-5 Corsi-on was plus-8.78 according to behindthenet.ca.
The Blues had won 10 of their last 11 games and were making up some ground on first place Nashville in the Central Division.
While this definitely stings, the Blues’ strength is depth, and though Shattenkirk was the All-Star fellow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is ‘the guy’ on St. Louis blueline. He plays more (25:28 per-game to Shattenkirk’s 22:54) and gets tougher assignments.
They also still have former All-Star/Olympian Jay Bouwmeester.
St. Louis is likely postseason bound regardless. But without knowing how long Shattenkirk is going to be out, it adds questions to the Blues, such as how they approach the trade deadline. Plus, health helps in the playoffs. You don’t want to go into the tournament like a MASH unit, especially with one of your key guys hurt.
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