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St. Louis Blues defenceman Erik Johnson out with torn knee ligaments

ST. LOUIS - Blues defenceman Erik Johnson, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft, tore two ligaments in his right knee during a recent golf outing and is expected to miss the entire season but recover fully.

"In our business you get a few curveballs," team president John Davidson said Tuesday night before St. Louis played Dallas in a pre-season game. "This is a pretty good curveball."

Johnson, 20, was injured during a team golf outing on Sept. 16 when his right foot got caught between the accelerator and the brake of his golf cart. The Blues had to wait for swelling in the knee to go down before a diagnosis could be made.

Two surgeons determined that Johnson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the knee that will require an operation to fix.

Davidson said the swelling in Johnson's knee must subside before surgery will take place. Davidson said Johnson isn't expected to play this season, but would have a "100 per cent" recovery.

Last season as a rookie, Johnson played in 69 games and recorded five goals and 33 points. He is considered the centrepiece of the team's youth movement.

"To say Erik is distraught would be using a kind word," Davidson said. "He feels responsible, but we told him we're still with him. He's still going to be a big part of our team."

The Blues will explore options inside and outside the organization for defensive help, including giving 2008 top pick Alex Pietrangelo a look. Pietrangelo, the No. 4 pick overall, was in the lineup Tuesday night.

"We still have our same goals," Davidson said. "We're going to get up tomorrow and think about winning. You have to be able to adapt."

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