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Blues Place O’Reilly, Tarasenko on Injured Reserve

The scuffling St. Louis Blues placed to key veterans on IR Monday. Whether the pending UFAs will be traded comes down to the next few weeks.

It’s been a miserable season for the St. Louis Blues and things keep going from bad to worse.

The club placed a pair of key forwards on injured reserve Monday as center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Vladimir Tarasenko are both set to miss significant time. O’Reilly suffered a broken foot and won’t be re-evaluated for six weeks while Tarasenko is facing four weeks out of the lineup with a hand injury. The news comes just six days after the Blues placed defenseman Torey Krug on IR with a lower-body injury as he too is expected to miss six weeks of action.

Tarasenko was injured when he blocked a shot from Minnesota’s Matt Dumba on Saturday. The severity of O’Reilly’s injury wasn’t confirmed until he underwent further tests on Sunday. General manager Doug Armstrong is looking for some of his veterans to step up their play while younger players get an increased opportunity.

Ryan O'Reilly Vladimir Tarasenko Blues trades
Ryan O’Reilly Vladimir Tarasenko Blues trades

“I think it’s a great opportunity for a lot of different players. I’ve been able to touch base with some of our veteran guys via text and that the reality is that some of the players aren’t playing to the standards that they set for themselves the first 30-plus games. The challenge for them is to get their game back on par and lead us and then we have opportunity for younger players.”

The Blues (17-17-3) sit fifth in the Central Division, but sixth in terms of points percentage (.500). They enter the New Year five points back of the Edmonton Oilers for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The club embarks on a four-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Toronto.

Next Few Weeks Appear Vital

It shouldn’t take long before we can gauge where Armstrong’s mindset would be approaching the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline. If the Blues’ historic march from 30th overall at the New Year to a Stanley Cup victory in 2019 taught us anything, it’s that it’s too early to push any panic buttons. However, the slope is going to be a slippery one without the services of O’Reilly, Tarasenko, and Krug for at least the next four weeks.

Complicating matters is the fact that both O’Reilly and Tarasenko are both pending unrestricted free agents. Both should certainly be healthy well in advance of the March 3 trade deadline and both will be coveted as a couple of the top veteran rentals on the market. The question is what their teammates do while they watch from the press box over the next month and change. The best the Blues can hope for is to make Armstrong’s job very difficult if they can stay afloat, but if not, the veteran GM has a couple of big-time cards in his hand ahead of the deadline.

Next: Draisaitl Recovers Quicker Than Expected, Should Play Tuesday



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