The St. Louis Blues, stuck in a losing spiral that has them dead last in the NHL, will have to pull themselves out of it without the help of Robert Bortuzzo. The veteran defenseman was placed on injured reserve today with an upper-body injury. Tyler Tucker was recalled from the AHL in his place.
Bortuzzo, 33, has barely seen the ice this season anyway, averaging just over 12 minutes in his 10 appearances. Even with an entire career spent on the third pairing that is the lowest ice time he’s seen, and the results haven’t been very good. With him out, the Blues will have to go in a different direction with that spot, perhaps even the youngster coming up from Springfield.
Tucker, 22, was a seventh-round pick of the Blues in 2018 and has moved his way up the organizational depth chart by being extremely hard to play against. The left-shot defenseman racked up 114 penalty minutes last season for the Thunderbirds and was a wrecking ball in the playoffs, helping the club to the Calder Cup Finals. In 11 games this season he’s turned up the offense with seven points, while still being strong in his own end.
Even earning a recall is a big deal for a seventh-round pick, but it seems like Tucker might actually get into the lineup if the Blues can’t find a way out of this losing streak. Why not try out something different, especially on the back end where the Blues have given up 43 goals in 11 games.