With a handful of injuries defensively the Blues gave their young Finnish defensive prospect his 2016-17 season debut. Petteri Lindbohm made his return to the St. Louis Blues lineup. It was a big opportunity as any game against a central division opponent much less Chicago is always taken seriously.
But the ice time was kept short, when the game came to its conclusion, Lindbohm had just 9:49 to make an impact on the contest.
That shouldn't come as too much of a shock. He did just recently come back from an injury that kept Lindbohm out of the Chicago Wolves lineup for a few games. Being paired with Colton Parayko last night was also a nice way to ease him back into the NHL level of play.
Though there is one question that is slowly starting to pop up when it comes to Lindbohm. Just where does he fit into the lineup?
As it stands when the Blues are healthy there is no chance the 2012 sixth round draft pick would be dressing for the club. Which if you rewind back to the 2014-15 season, he looked to be a lock for a future spot. But that's just how sports work, things change on the fly. In 2014-15 Lindbohm played 23 games for the Blues and despite not producing much in terms of points(3) he was that years version of Joel Edmundson. Just a steady bottom pairing defensemen who wasn't a liability on the ice and could rise to the occasion when a game got out of hand. Along with playing well in the AHL that season, having 18 points in 53 games. It really did look like for opening night of the 2015-16 season Lindbohm was a player the Blues would call on. We all know how that story played out. The Helsinki native played just 10 games for the Blues last season and was "stuck" in the American league while Parayko and Edmundson went on to have great seasons.
Things don't really get much easier for him this year either, the Blues once again are stacked on the main roster and the AHL has gotten more competitive. Vince Dunn, the 2015 second round draft pick made his pro hockey debut this season. Currently he has six points in 10 games. Despite an injury keeping him out of the lineup this season currently, Jordan Schmaltz is another great player who won't be out of the lineup for forever. The Blues 2012 first round pick looks to be NHL ready and when healthy could play on the main roster a few times this season. Even looking outside the Wolves lineup, in NCAA hockey junior Jake Walman could knocking on the door sooner then later. Currently he's one of the top players for Providence college, having seven points in eight games.
So what does this all mean? Well for one it means the Blues will have plenty of options when it comes to young defensive prospects. This season is a pretty pivotal year for Lindbohm. He lost his footing last season and never gained back the ground he lost. With the depth chart getting more full each and every season, the 23 year old needs to hit a new level to remain relevant.