The Blues will have to rely on their top six defensemen for a while after Robert Bortuzzo suffered a lower-body injury.
The St. Louis Blues announced on Saturday that defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will miss time with a lower-body injury. Bortuzzo, who exited early during Thursday’s shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings, is expected to be reevaluated in 10 days.
Bortuzzo is a healthy scratch more often than not as the Blues’ seventh defenseman, but he had begun to rotate more frequently with Carl Gunnarsson during the early part of this season. In four games, he has a plus-1 rating with no points.
Luckily for the Blues, they’ve got a good shot at being able to make it through the duration of Bortuzzo’s injury without having to use a seventh defenseman. They won’t call up a player for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, but if they elect to call up another player just for extra protection, their options will be rather limited.
Jordan Schmaltz is dealing with an injury and has yet to suit up for the AHL Chicago Wolves this season, while Petteri Lindbohm has missed the past three games. Thus, the most likely candidates for a promotion are NHL veterans Chris Butler, who is a plus-1 with no points through six games for the Wolves, and Brad Hunt, who is a plus-3 with a goal and five assists through the first six games.
While Hunt’s numbers would seem to make him the obvious favorite, he’s just 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds and has traditionally been considered an offense-first defenseman, so the Blues may want a more disciplined defender like Butler if he’s only going to be playing limited minutes anyway.