The “STL line” will be reunited as Jori Lehtera returns to the ice on Thursday.
The St. Louis Blues announced on Thursday morning that they’ve activated forward Jori Lehtera from injured reserve. Lehtera had missed the past four games with a concussion. To make room for Lehtera on the 23-man roster, forward Magnus Paajarvi was placed on waivers, and he’ll presumably be assigned back to AHL Chicago if he clears.
Lehtera’s return puts the Blues back at full health and allows them to utilize their regular group of top nine forwards once again. While he has no points this season, Lehtera has been an important setup man for Vladimir Tarasenko over the past two seasons.
The 25-year-old Paajarvi, a 6-foot-3, 208-pounder, has been in the NHL since November of last season–and he saw action in three games of the Western Conference Finals last spring–but before that, he spent the second half of the 2014-15 season and the first month of last season in the AHL.
Aside from the fact that Paajarvi had been rumored to be in Thursday’s lineup, the decision to waive him was surprising for several reasons.
Paajarvi is more viable as a fourth-line player than Ty Rattie, has shown the ability to play both the left and right wing positions (Rattie only plays the right side), and has played more than Rattie, seeing action in three games with one goal.
The Blues must still believe that Rattie, who had four goals and two assists in 13 games last season, has the potential to be a regular top-nine forward at some point. But since they went out and acquired Nail Yakupov to fortify that group right before the season and have used Rattie just once–and only for 8:02–through the first seven games of the season, it’s difficult to understand what their immediate plans are for him.