St. Louis Blues Recall Defenseman Chris Butler, Forward Ty Rattie

Apr 3, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Ty Rattie (18) skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blues defeat the Stars 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Ty Rattie (18) skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blues defeat the Stars 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues’ decision to recall both a forward and a defenseman from the minors signifies that they’ll be dealing with at least one significant injury at each position.

In a move that doesn’t look particularly great for the St. Louis Blues’ current injury situation, forward Ty Rattie and defenseman Chris Butler were recalled from the AHL Chicago Wolves on Sunday evening, via the Wolves’ official transactions page. That means the Blues will be placing at least one of the four skaters who were injured this weekend–defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson, center Paul Stastny, and winger Magnus Paajarvi–on injured reserve to create a roster space.

With three games this week versus Eastern Conference teams, against which the Blues are 6-7-5 this season, it’s not ideal to lose an every-night player for at least a full week, but that will evidently be the case for the shaky Blues. At this point, Bouwmeester would seem to be the most likely candidate to go on IR, as he’s reportedly going through concussion protocol and would seemingly be out for at least a week as he battles back from that injury.

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The Blues used all 20 healthy skaters at Los Angeles on Saturday night, inserting Scottie Upshall and Robert Bortuzzo into the lineup to replace Stastny and Bouwmeester, then playing shorthanded for the rest of the night after Gunnarsson and Paajarvi exited early. With all four of those players uncertain for Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, though, the Blues need more protection.

They’ll get that with Rattie and Butler, both of whom had stints with the NHL club in October of this season. Rattie was the first forward recalled when Jaden Schwartz and Paul Stastny went down with injuries, and though he still wasn’t the impact scorer that some have projected he’ll eventually become, the 6-foot, 180-pounder had his best NHL stint to date, registering two assists, two penalty minutes, four shots on goal and a minus-1 rating through five games.

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Rattie’s promotion makes it clear that the Blues feel the need for a top-nine forward, rather than just a fourth-line presence like Jordan Caron or Jeremy Welsh, both of whom have had previous NHL stints this season. Rattie hasn’t been exceptionally productive since returning to Chicago; though he’s tied the Wolves’ lead in points with nine goals and 14 assists through 29 games, it must be considered that he got off to a flaming-hot start and had four goals and three assists in his first three games before being recalled. He does have six assists in his past 10 games for the Wolves, but the scoring touch that he’s historically exhibited at the AHL level has been absent lately, as he’s scored just one goal over the past 10.

Butler, meanwhile, returns to the NHL as he continues in his “reliable yo-yo” role. The 29-year-old St. Louis native has played in 35 NHL games and 41 AHL contests since signing with the Blues before 2014-15, and he’ll now come back for his third stint with the NHL club over that period. Butler played in two games for the Blues earlier this season–during one of which he was deployed as an emergency fourth-line forward–and had no points, no penalty minutes, and a minus-2 rating.

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Butler’s promotion displays the front office’s continued respect for him (or their desire to pay out some of his $675,000 one-way contract at the NHL level), because his numbers hadn’t been great at Chicago. Through 27 games, Butler had two goals, eight assists, a team-worst minus-11 rating, and 18 penalty minutes. Meanwhile, the Wolves’ top defensive pairing of Andre Benoit and Peter Harrold (both NHL veterans) have thrived, as Benoit is tied for the team lead in points at 23 with a plus-9 rating, while Harrold has 19 points and a plus-8 rating.

The Blues are expected to update the status of the four players injured this weekend on Monday. At that time, we’ll have a better idea of whether Butler or Rattie will be part of the lineup on Tuesday evening.