For a brief moment, it looked as if the Blues were finally going to have a fully healthy roster at their disposal but that isn’t the case now. With a few players banged up, they’ve been forced to make a move as the team announced that winger James Neal has been placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. Center Dakota Joshua has been recalled from AHL Springfield to take Neal’s place on the roster.
Neal had a strong showing with St. Louis on a training camp PTO which led to him receiving a one-year, $750K contract just before the regular season started. His preseason production hasn’t quite carried over to the regular season, however, as the 34-year-old has managed just two goals and two assists in 17 games while averaging just 11:54 per game, a career-low.
As for Joshua, this is already his third recall of the season. He has played in six games with the Blues this season, logging just shy of eight minutes per game on the fourth line. He also has suited up in 11 games with the Thunderbirds, notching a goal and four assists.
What’s notable here is that St. Louis doesn’t have the cap space to add Joshua to the roster; per CapFriendly, they have less than $100K in room right now and Joshua, like Neal, makes $750K, the league minimum. David Perron and Klim Kostin are the other injured forwards and one of them (or Neal) could be shifted to LTIR to create the cap space for Joshua’s addition but that means they’d be missing ten games and 24 days. Otherwise, the cap space would need to come from removing a defenseman from the roster; only Scott Perunovich is waiver-exempt. While this move was needed to get a healthy forward up, it looks as if there will need to be another one coming to make the money work.
Speaking as a Springfield fan, I have NO problem with Perunovich being sent back down! (He was leading the AHL in scoring when he was recalled.)