The terms of injury conditioning assignments allow Perunovich to remain in the AHL for up to two weeks as he looks to get back to full speed. Perunovich underwent shoulder surgery in October, with a timeline that expected him to miss most of this season. The blueliner’s recovery process has presumably gone well, though, as he’s seemingly nearing a return with a solid chunk of the season still yet to be played.
Perunovich, 24, was a second-round pick of the Blues at the 2018 draft and has long ranked among the team’s top defensive prospects. He had a stellar three-year NCAA career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, registering 105 points in 115 games en route to back-to-back NCAA championships as well as a Hobey Baker Award win in 2019-20, among quite a few other honors.
While undersized by traditional standards at five-foot-ten, 175 pounds, Perunovich is extremely talented with the puck on his stick and has the potential to be an offensive difference-maker and a valued asset in transition. He made his professional debut last season, excelling at the AHL level to the tune of 22 points in 17 games.
He had some issues staying healthy, and adjusting his game to the pace and physicality of the NHL sometimes proved a challenge, but he impressed enough to see time in the Blues’ run to the second round of the 2022 playoffs.
Now, he’ll get a chance to return to playing a top role at the AHL level as he works his way back from an injury. With rumors swirling about other potential trades coming to St. Louis after the team already dealt Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola, it’s possible that additional room on St. Louis’ roster opens up right when Perunovich gets back to full health and is ready to return to the NHL.