The St. Louis Blues are getting two defensemen healthy for the first time this season. As announced by the team, Marco Scandella and Scott Perunovich have been activated from injured reserve, while Jake Neighbours replaces them as he lands on IR with an upper-body injury.
Scandella could make his season debut Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes. The 32-year-old is in the third season of a four-year, $13.1MM contract but hasn’t played since undergoing hip surgery last September.
Perunovich remains one of the organization’s best prospects despite missing significant time over the past three seasons with various injuries. A talented offensive defender, Perunovich underwent surgery to repair a fractured left shoulder last October after he sustained the injury in a preseason game.
The 45th overall selection in the 2018 draft, Perunovich has been assigned to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds as he continues to adjust to game action. He’s already recorded one assist in two games on a conditioning stint.
Neighbours officially lands on injured reserve after head coach Craig Berube told reporters yesterday he’d be out long-term. Per the team, Neighbours will be reevaluated in five weeks, meaning he could return with a handful of games left in the season.
It’s been an especially long road to recovery for Scandella, who’d been skating for nearly three months before returning to full health. As he enters the twilight of his NHL career, Scandella is coming off a 14-point effort in 70 games last season.
Perunovich could see NHL action near the tail end of the campaign to prime him for a full-time role in 2023-24. However, with so little professional experience under his belt over the past few seasons, some consistency in his ice time (and routine) at the AHL level could prove beneficial.