The Blues could be without Joel Edmundson for a while after he suffered an upper-body injury Sunday. Luckily, their organizational defensive depth is strengthening.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson exited early in the first period of Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche after being checked by Avs forward Rene Borque. He was diagnosed with an upper-body injury and did not return.
As NHL.com’s Lou Korac relayed after the game, it sounds like Edmundson might be out for a while:
Despite what the numbers may indicate (no goals, one assist, and a minus-3 rating through 13 games), Edmundson’s loss will be rather significant for the Blues. He’s been an important piece on the Blues’ penalty kill–which has been dominant through the early part of the season–and is a very disciplined player in his own zone.
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Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who hasn’t played since suffering a lower-body injury in an October 27 loss to Detroit, is said to be close to returning, so he could take Edmundson’s spot in the lineup if he’s ready to go for Wednesday’s game against Chicago.
Whether it’s to bridge the gap between Edmundson and Bortuzzo or just to add extra depth, though, the Blues should probably make a call-up if Edmundson’s injury is as serious as Hitchcock made it out to be on Sunday. The team follows up that Wednesday home game with a visit to Nashville on Thursday, and they play another road game at Columbus on Saturday. Thus, the Blues probably want to have as much precautionary depth in place as the league will allow them to have.
Candidates for a promotion could include Brad Hunt, who joined the Blues for a day on their latest road trip and currently leads the AHL Chicago Wolves with 10 points in 10 games, or Petteri Lindbohm, who had a strong training camp and was viewed as the most likely candidate for a promotion until an injury kept him off the ice for the past couple weeks. He returned to the Wolves’ lineup on Friday, though, and should be good to go if the Blues need him.
Obviously we don’t know the extent of the injury, but this has to be frustrating for the 23-year-old Edmundson, who had grasped an every-night role this season with strong performances in training camp and the early part of the regular season. Edmundson has already dealt with a rather serious injury scare during his short pro career, as he suffered a back injury that cost him the first 46 games of the 2014-15 AHL campaign and likely delayed his NHL debut for an extra season.