Ahead of schedule: Lehtera (ankle) ready to return to Blues practice

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Looks like Jori Lehtera‘s surgically-repaired ankle is doing well.

Lehtera, who went under the knife on Aug. 4, is set to return full team practice in St. Louis tomorrow, the team announced on Thursday. The announcement comes after the club initially said Lehtera would need 6-8 weeks of recovery time before he started skating, let alone get back to practice.

It’s a good development for the Blues.

Lehtera, 27, is coming off a very good first year in St. Louis — he scored 14 goals and 44 points in 75 games, earning a nice three-year, $14.1 million extension in July.

 It’ll be interesting to see where Lehtera fits in the lineup this year, though. He spent most of last season centering Vladimir Tarasenko, but Tarasenko opened camp with Paul Stastny as his new center, and the pair looked dangerous together in St. Louis’ preseason opener against Columbus.