The St. Louis Blues are limping into the postseason.
Already down the services of captain David Backes and 20-goal man Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues lost another pair of forwards in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota: 1) T.J. Oshie, hurt on a nasty hit from Minnesota veteran Mike Rupp, and 2) Brenden Morrow, who took a shot off his foot during the morning skate and at first appeared OK — until he tried to partake in warmps and found himself unable to go.
More, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The Blues inserted Magnus Paajarvi as a late addition to the lineup in Morrow’s place. The Blues will likely have to tap into their American Hockey League affiliate for call-up help prior to tonight’s game against Dallas.
Morrow’s absence could prove significant. His 13 goals rank seventh on the team and his 25 points slot him ninth among forwards. He was signed to the roster as a free agent last summer to bring veteran experience and grit to the lineup, particularly for the playoffs. After playing in 71 regular-season games, Morrow may not get that opportunity now.
Two weeks ago, the Blues looked like runaway Central Division winner. But following a rough stretch which includes their current four-game losing streak, they’ve fallen to second in the division and are now staring at a possible first round matchup with the defending champs, Chicago.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.