The St. Louis Blues are one of the NHL’s best and deepest teams, and have won 10 of their past 11 games, including the current five-game win streak they’re enjoying. So if any team is equipped to deal with an injury to a star player, it’s the Blues – and they now have to deal with one after announcing top blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk is injured and requires abdominal surgery that will knock him out of the lineup for weeks.
The team revealed Monday the 26-year-old Shattenkirk, who was injured in a win over Washington Sunday, will undergo the surgery in the net week-to-10-days – and his timetable for returning after that will be “week-to-week”. The New Rochelle, N.Y., native was leading all NHL defensemen in assists this season (32) and with 40 points in 49 games, he was second only to Calgary’s Mark Giordano in points by a blueliner; in addition, he was well on his way to demolishing his career bests of 10 goals, 35 assists and 43 points when he was hurt.
While there’s no question St. Louis will miss Shattenkirk’s instincts on offense and the big chunk of ice time (an average of 22:54 per game), when Ken Hitchcock has workhorses Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester to lean on – not to mention veteran Barret Jackman and first-year Blue Carl Gunnarsson, who is capable of top-four minutes – he’s got a luxury possessed by very few of his opponents.