The Blues have recalled five players from the Springfield Thunderbirds to get some banged up regulars a rest. The team’s recalled Will Bitten, Hugh McGing, Mathias Laferriere, Brady Lyle, Steven Santini. Santini is a notable returnee, because there’s a possibility that he could get a call-up due to injuries on defense early on in the season.
This preseason has been a little rougher on the team than most were hoping to see. On top of Marco Scandella and Scott Perunovich being out, the Blues are dealing with multiple minor injuries and illnesses. Vladimir Tarasenko is sick, Ivan Barbashev has a lower body injury, Logan Bron (who has been making the most of his pre-season opportunities) has an upper body injury, and of course Alexey Toropchenko is working his way back from a shoulder surgery. On top of that, Martin Frk has a lower body injury, Tyler Pitlick has an upper body injury, and Anthony Angello is in concussion protocol.
Most of the regulars who are currently out should be ready to go by opening night save for Toropchenko, so the Blues just need to get through the preseason, tonight and Saturday.
The line-up for tonight still manages to get some veterans some work:
#stlblues roster for tonight’s preseason game in Columbus:— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) October 6, 2022
F: Alexandrov, Bitten, Frk, Highmore, Kostin, Kyrou, Laferriere, Leivo, McGing, Neighbours, O'Reilly, Walker.
D: Bortuzzo, Kessel, Lyle, Rosen, Santini, Tucker.
G: Greiss, Hofer.
Jake Neighbours is really, really pressuring to crack the opening night lineup. Neighbours has had a solid pre-season, and he knows that the Blues potentially can use him right off of the bat, especially with the roster spot left open by Toropchenko’s absence.
“Wherever I am, I gotta play hockey at the highest level I can play it, so whether that’s in Springfield with those guys, which is going to be a really good team this year, or up here, I’m going to try and play the same way and bring the same intangibles night in and night out.
“I think I have the capabilities to play a fourth line role and kind of grind it out and be around the net, be hard to play against, be physical.”
Tonight, and if he plays on Saturday, the tilt against the Blackhawks will be make or break for Neighbours starting the year with the Blues.