The Blues are having to manage some cap jujitsu with four players on Covid-19 protocol and Brayden Schenn injured for the time being. They can’t call up expensive players right now, so their roster is at the exact number of guys needed to ice a team. Part of how the Blues have managed to stay at cap level without having to make moves has been Oskar Sundqvist’s placement on long term injured reserve.
Sundvist has been on LTIR since a March 9th collision with teammake Kyle Clifford tore Sunny’s ACL. In today’s press conference, Doug Armstrong mentioned Sundqvist’s recovery process. When is his return? It can be summed up in one word: soon.
Army says Sundqvist has gone from week-to-week to closer to day-to-day.— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) November 10, 2021
"Hopefully we'll see him in the next little while," he says. "I see light at the end of the tunnel and that's a positive thing. There have been no setbacks and hopefully we'll get him in the lineup soon."
Of course, once Sundvist’s $2.75 million cap hit has to return, someone has to go. It looks like the possibility for Schenn to be placed on LTIR to save space is nil; thankfully Schenn won’t have to be placed on the list as his injury isn’t bad enough to necessitate it.
So who goes?
The leading candidates are, of course, callup Calle Rosen and Dakota Joshua. Rosen is here for the time being with Krug and Mikkola out, and Joshua is up to allow for flexibility while Schenn is out and before Sundqvist returns. Those two returning don’t exactly solve the whole cap issue.
Kyle Clifford, however, would.
He’s been on the outside looking in thanks to being on the protocol list, but so far this season he’s also managed to be the odd man out. He’s played in just two games this season, getting an assist against the Kings on October 23rd. If someone winds up injured or Covid positive, Clifford might go in. His million dollar cap hit per season goes to being the spare forward for right now, and season’s his last before he becomes a UFA.
While the Blues might not be rolling four scoring lines, the depth they can ice in a game is impressive. Clifford isn’t key to that, but Sundqvist is. It’s going to be tough for the Blues to figure out who the extra forward is going to be when Sunny comes back, but it won’t be tough for them to figure out who to demote.