(HockeySTL)-- For the first time since the opening frame of the season, the St. Louis Blues have returned to full health. The club announced on Thursday afternoon that they had activated Maxim Lapierre from injured reserve, which restored the team to its opening-night condition.
Lapierre is expected to rejoin the Blues’ lineup on Thursday as they face the New York Rangers. His return comes at a good time for the Blues, who have dropped four of their last six games. In the past few weeks, the Blues have been inching their way back to full health, and have seen Alexander Steen, Ryan Reaves, Roman Polak, Jordan Leopold, and now Lapierre all activated from IR.
Lapierre has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury, which is believed to have been a leg injury. It’s also believed that Lapierre’s injury was sustained in the Jan. 10 game against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks.
Before his injury, Lapierre was beginning to re-discover chemistry with forward Reaves, who returned to the lineup just five games before Lapierre went down with his lower-body injury. Lapierre had two goals in five January games, and was establishing himself on the Blues’ fourth line.
“Bringing in ‘Lappy’ brings some offense to that fourth line,” said Reaves before Lapierre’s injury. “(We) are starting to get our stride now. ‘Lappy’ is coming into his own.”
Lapierre has played in 39 games with the Blues this season, amassing nine points (six goals, three assists) and 30 penalty minutes. The gritty centerman has averaged 11 minutes of ice time per game this season.
The forward was signed to a two-year contract this past offseason, and was brought in to help give the club depth at center. Lapierre has nine years of National Hockey League experience, and his style of play complemented the Blues’ fourth line.
During Lapierre’s absence, the Blues have been experimenting with different fourth-line combinations. Most recently, the team’s fourth line has consisted of Brenden Morrow, Adam Cracknell, and Ryan Reaves. With Lapierre’s activation, the club was forced to trim one body off of their 23-man roster. As a result, Cracknell has been sent to the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves.
Cracknell will not be required to clear waivers to join the Wolves. The club placed Cracknell on waivers earlier this month and the forward went unclaimed, meaning his assignment does not require passing through waivers.