It is another lost season for Scott Perunovich, who will undergo surgery on a fractured left shoulder later this week. The St. Louis Blues have announced a six-month timeline before Perunovich is even re-evaluated, meaning he will miss most, if not all of the 2022-23 campaign.
This is the second major shoulder injury that Perunovich has suffered since turning pro, though Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic tweets that it is unrelated to that torn labrum that kept him out the entire 2020-21 season. Still, it is the same shoulder, and means another surgery to correct a serious injury before he ever really gets his career off the ground.
Now 24, Perunovich was the 2020 Hobey Baker winner with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he racked up 105 points in 115 games. The smooth-skating defenseman was a second-round pick of the Blues in 2018 and showed he could dominate the minor leagues when he recovered from that first shoulder injury, racking up 22 points in 17 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds. Nineteen NHL regular season games resulted in six points, and Perunovich managed to add another four assists in seven playoff games.
It appeared as though there was an opening for him with the Blues this year but instead, questions will now arise over whether he’ll even be with the organization for very long. He will be a restricted free agent again after this season and at some point, St. Louis will have to ask whether or not they believe he’ll ever be healthy enough to contribute on a regular basis. There’s obvious talent, but another serious injury like this will not only put him behind but allow other young players to move up the depth chart in his place.
It’s a brutal blow for a talented young defenseman and one that he can hopefully overcome. A six-month timeline puts the re-evaluation at the start of April, meaning there is at least an outside chance that he could return for a Blues playoff run if needed.