Blues fans have been clamoring to see Scott Perunovich since Torey Krug and Niko Mikkola wound up on the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list. Unfortunately for the Blues, they were in some cap pain, and found that calling up Perunovich while also having Joel Hofer, Dakota Joshua, and Calle Rosen up with the NHL club would be difficult.
The Blues appear to have (temporarily) solved that problem by sending Hofer, Joshua, and Rosen back down to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. Hofer’s demotion is clearly not play related - he won his first NHL start and performed well against one of the league’s top teams in the Carolina Hurricanes. Ville Husso is coming off of the Covid-19 list and will be available for games starting today.
Sending Joshua back to the Thunderbirds leaves the Blues with eleven forwards, which clearly will not work for a game. This means that one of their three forwards who are currently out - either Kyle Clifford for Covid-19, Brayden Schenn, or Oskar Sundqvist - is ready to return. If it was Sundqvist coming off of LTIR, a bigger salary shift would be needed, so between that and the timing, signs point to Clifford’s return.
Perunovich has been performing very well with the Thunderbirds this season. He’s tied for the AHL lead in points with two goals and 18 assists and has clearly made up for missing a good amount of hockey over the last two seasons due to injury and leagues cancelling games due to Covid-19. The 2020 Hobey Baker award winner has looked like he more than belongs in the AHL. With the flagging energy of the Parayko/Scandella pairing becoming more and more evident - and just the overall need for Torey Krug to return sooner rather than later - Perunovich fills a hole for the Blues. For how long this season is another question entirely.