The St. Louis Blues have placed another veteran forward on injured reserve, the team announced Thursday.
Alexander Steen, a 15-year veteran, suffered a left high-ankle sprain late in the second period Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
Trying to clear the puck out of the Blues’ zone with a 3-1 lead in the dying seconds of the middle frame, Steen deflected a pass sent by Connor McDavid. His momentum then forced him into Oilers forward Alex Chiasson, awkwardly causing his ankle to hyperextend when his skate blade caught an edge on the ice.
Steen immediately went down and was then assisted off the ice by a trainer and teammate Colton Parayko. He has returned to St. Louis and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
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In 17 games played this season, his 12th with St. Louis, he has recorded five assists but is scoreless.
Vladimir Tarasenko was also placed on IR earlier this season with a shoulder injury. He is expected to miss at least five months following his surgery on Oct. 29.
While Tarasenko’s absence leaves a sizeable hole for the Blues in terms of goals, Steen’s departure widens the gap of reliable veteran production. He was likely on the list of names expected to see an increase in secondary scoring with Tarasenko out but now the Blues will turn to the likes of Sammy Blais, Zach Sanford and Mackenzie MacEachern.
The good news for St. Louis is they have gone through valleys before — and not long ago. If you were alive and anywhere near an NHL broadcast during the playoffs last season, you are well aware that the Blues were last in the NHL on Jan. 3 before reaching the highest of highs as Stanley Cup champions.
With the light on them from the initial puck drop this season, the defending champions were on a mission to keep from repeating what plagued the onset of their 2018-19 campaign. So far, they have done just that. Currently riding a six-game win streak (second-best behind the Islanders 10-game streak), the Blues sit atop the Central Division with 25 points — a spot in the standings they did not get a chance to settle into last season.