New Blues forward Brayden Schenn plays in a preseason game vs the Capitals.
Wow. The regular season hasn’t yet begun, and the Blues depth, across the roster, is being severely tested.
On the blueline it’s Jay Bouwmeester who’s down for a time. His steadiness isn’t easily replaced, but there is depth from which to choose. Nate Prosser is a veteran familiar with Coach Yeo, and Jake Walman and Vince Dunn both look to make the club, at least out of camp.
But it’s the forward corps that’s really taking hits. The heaviest, of course, is Robby Fabbri going down for the season, with another knee injury. This stings because Robby had been expected to take a big step forward in his career. And I picked him to score 20 in my “5 for 20” article. His absence affects the depth at center, where Coach Yeo and Blues management had intended to play him there, at least to see how he fit.
The center position looks especially thin now, with Fabbri, Berglund, and Zach Sanford all out for an extended time.
But the Blues have depth. Now the signing of Vladimir Sobotka looks prescient; he’ll be relied on to fill top 9 minutes, and I’m sure will play up and down the lines. Magnus Paajarvi also, I would imagine, get extra minutes. I’m excited to see if he can build on his quality play to close out last season. He scored at a 20-goal pace.
With Alex Steen also being sidelined, Opening Night could see forward lines look something like this:
LW C RW
J. Schwartz P. Stastny V. Tarasenko
V. Sobotka B. Schenn M. Paajarvi
T. Thompson I. Barbashev D. Jaskin
S. Upshall K. Brodziak C. Thorburn
Boy, does that look thin. But I also think it could produce, until reinforcements arrive from the injury list.
This is a great opportunity for Barbashev, Paajarvi and Thompson to show they can stick with the club and be productive NHL-ers.
Thanks for reading.