The Blues can’t escape injuries. St. Louis announced Sunday that Steve Ott will miss three months and require hamstring surgery following a collision with the boards Saturday night. Ott, 33, had already missed six games this season with an upper-body injury.
The St. Louis Blues have had to deal with injury woes all season, and those troubles aren’t going away anytime soon. With Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz already on the shelf, the Blues announced Sunday that veteran winger Steve Ott will miss at least three months following an awkward collision with the boards Saturday evening.
Ott, 33, will have to undergo surgery to repair his hamstrings and has been placed on the injured reserve, the Blues announced. His injury status will be reevaluated by the team in three months’ time.
The injury came in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs when Ott attempted to lay a hit on Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Ott skated cross ice to attempt the check on Phaneuf with less than a minute remaining in the first period, but after missing the hit, Ott’s skate got tangled up with Phaneuf’s. The skates catching caused Ott’s legs to spread, and he was sent into the boards in a splits position:
Luckily for the Blues, replacing Ott won’t be as difficult a task as it has been to find someone to fill in for the likes of Schwartz, Paul Stastny and Kevin Shattenkirk, all of whom have missed time this season due to injury. Ott has averaged less than 11 minutes of ice time per game in the 21 outings he has played and has mustered just two assists. Used in a depth role, Ott’s injury likely will mean Blues coach Ken Hitchcock will be forced to do some line-juggling.
One spot where Hitchcock will need to find a replacement is on the penalty kill, as Ott had been a fixture of St. Louis’ third-ranked penalty kill unit. Ott was a second-unit penalty killer for Hitchcock, but it appears duty on the second group will now fall to Stastny, who is averaging roughly 30 seconds less time per game on the penalty kill at this point in the season. Ott’s most frequent partner with the Blues down a man was Kyle Brodziak, and when Ott was knocked out of Saturday’s game, it was Stastny who killed penalties alongside Brodziak.
It’s difficult to say if Stastny replacing Ott will have any major impact on the penalty kill, but Ott has been slightly better at suppressing shots on the penalty kill over the past four seasons in more than twice the amount of work, while Stastny has fared better in terms of surrendering power play goals while on the kill.
Ott has played 423 minutes on the penalty kill in the past four seasons and has allowed only 100 shot attempts against per 60 minutes of penalty kill time. In 200 minutes on the penalty kill, Stastny has allowed 102 shot attempts against per 60 minutes. However, Stastny has only been on the ice for power play goals against over that span. Ott, on the other hand, has been on ice for 50.
Even with Ott out, it doesn’t appear the Blues will make a move to call up a forward from their AHL club, the Chicago Wolves. The Blues chose to call up defenseman Petteri Lindbohm from the Wolves shortly before announcing the extent of Ott’s injury. Blueliner Joel Edmundson was demoted to the AHL.
This is the second time this season that Ott has been sent to the sidelines with injury. Earlier in the season, Ott missed six games with an upper-body ailment.