The St. Louis Blues announced today that Zach Sanford’s shoulder injury is much worse than originally expected, and the young forward will be out five to six months. Jay Bouwmeester has also suffered an ankle fracture, and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Sanford was only expected to miss a few weeks, but will require surgery to fix his dislocated shoulder.
It’s a crushing blow for the Blues, who were expecting Sanford to compete for a full-time spot on the team to start the year. Acquired by St. Louis as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk deal, the 22-year old forward scored five points down the stretch and looked to be a big part of what the Blues were building. While his future isn’t in doubt, it’s certainly a terrible way to start what could have been his first full season in the NHL. Six months would put him returning in mid-March, which could feel almost like a trade deadline acquisition for the club.
Bouwmeester is an even bigger blow if he misses significant time. The Blues are much deeper on the right side with Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko, but will now could have to turn to youngsters like Jake Walman or Vince Dunn to play some NHL minutes. There is always the chance the team could go out and get a defenseman from free agency or trade, but St. Louis does have some depth in their prospect pool at defense. Still, none of those young players should be expected to fill the role Bouwmeester played alongside Pietrangelo, logging more than 22 minutes a night for the 13th-straight year of his career.