The St. Louis Blues stole today’s thunder by dealing Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers, but there’s even more Blues news to discuss on the injury front. Head coach Craig Berube said today that another trade chip, Ryan O’Reilly, is possible for Saturday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes but has yet to be cleared.
O’Reilly added to his coach’s comments, saying he has to be 100 percent sure his injured foot is healed before returning to avoid re-injury. A 12-year NHL veteran, O’Reilly last played in their New Year’s Eve matchup against the Minnesota Wild. He’s missed the following 14 games with the injury. The winner of the 2019 Selke and Conn Smythe Trophies, O’Reilly is in a down season with a -28 rating and just 16 points in 37 games. He’s in the final season of a seven-year, $7.5MM average annual value contract.
Per The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, O’Reilly resumed skating on Tuesday, and NHL.com’s Lou Korac said the Blues captain practiced in full equipment today.
- Berube also told reporters Pavel Buchnevich is possible for Saturday after missing the past two weeks with an ankle injury. Buchnevich, with 38 points in 38 games, is the team’s leader in points per game, just ahead of Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou. If he’s cleared to return, along with O’Reilly, they’ll likely skate together on the second line alongside Brandon Saad.
- In a very positive development, top defense prospect Scott Perunovich has been cleared for contact and, per Berube, is “ready to do everything.” Perunovich, 24, hasn’t played in all in 2022-23 after sustaining a preseason shoulder injury. After missing the entirety of 2020-21 and most of 2021-22 with injuries, a strong finish to the season could salvage Perunovich’s stunted development. He showed true flashes of stardom in the minors last season, recording 22 points in just 17 games with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.
- Defenseman Tyler Tucker is coming up from Springfield to replace Niko Mikkola’s now-vacant spot on the roster, as he was included in the trade to New York earlier today. Tucker, a seventh-round pick in 2018, has shot up the Blues’ depth chart to play in 12 games this season, recording one assist.