It might be a bit much to call the St. Louis Blues “100 percent” healthy. That’s very much a relative term at this point in a grueling 82-game regular season.
Still, relatively speaking, Jeremy Rutherford points out that this the first time the Blues will enjoy their full roster’s strength since March 3 … 2010. That’s a whopping 160-game span.
Of course, this is assuming that a bundle of Blues return on Saturday won’t have any setbacks. Andy McDonald, Roman Polak and Matt D’Agostini are the players expected to come back to the fold. (Polak has been sidelined especially long, but McDonald is likely the biggest impact player.)
Obviously, the Blues have managed just fine while piecing together that roster as they currently lead the league with 106 standings points. Still, T.J. Oshie marveled at an already-deep team’s staggering depth after watching everyone in action during practice.
“I was in the middle of one of the drills (at Friday’s practice) … we were doing 5 on 5 and it seemed like every line was battling with every line,” Oshie said. “It wasn’t one line dominating another. I looked over at (Carlo Colaiacovo) and I said, ‘We’ve got a really deep team when everybody is out here.'”
Want an idea of what the Blues might look like at “100 percent” strength? Here are Rutherford’s expected line combinations for Saturday:
Alex Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Andy McDonald-Patrik Berglund-David Perron
Vladimir Sobotka-Jason Arnott-Jamie Langenbrunner
Matt D’Agostini-Scott Nichol-Chris Stewart
Extras: B.J. Crombeen, Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Chris Porter
Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell-Roman Polak
Extras: Kent Huskins, Ian Cole
Naturally, Ken Hitchcock faces his latest coaching challenge in mixing all these “new” ingredients properly, but that’s likely a good problem to have. It’s not a very familiar one for St. Louis, though.