A day after updating the status of goaltender Brian Elliott to “medically clear”, the Blues made some corresponding roster moves.
It appears likely that Elliott could come off the injured reserve list in the very near future. The Blues, whose roster count was at 23 players Monday morning, were forced to make some subtractions.
The first move was to send defenseman Petteri Lindbohm back to Chicago. The rookie, who has played in nine games for the Blues this season, has one point. However, the coaching staff has been very impressed with his play, especially of late, so much so that Lindbohm has earned starts over the 25-year old Ian Cole.
“He helps us now, but he’s really going to help us in the future,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said last week. “So, the more time we get him, the more times he’s up with us, the more participation he can take part in, the quicker he’s going to become an impact player.”
For several reasons, assigning Lindbohm was an obvious maneuver for the team. The defenseman is not waiver eligible, so the club doesn’t have to risk a player claim from another team.
Also, defenseman Carl Gunnarsson appears to be closing in on a possible return sometime soon, which would mean the Blues would have to cut a defenseman from the roster at that point, anyway. Lindbohm was the only member of the group that would not be required to pass through waivers to be assigned.
“Right now, it’s up to me because he’s here, but when you get into numbers and you are only allowed 23 and ‘Gunny’ is here and healthy (it’s not my decision),” Hitchcock said last week.
“He’s not going to play. To put him into the rotation here is OK, but the minute we start making him a regular healthy scratch he’s not going to be around here; he’s going to be gone. He has to play.”
The Blues also placed forward Magnus Paajarvi on waivers Monday morning. Paajarvi has played in just ten of the Blues’ 35 games this season. He has one point.
The former first-round pick, acquired by the Blues in 2013 in exchange for forward David Perron, has not lived up to the hype he garnered when he was drafted 10th overall by Edmonton in 2009. For the past two seasons, he has struggled to crack the Blues’ lineup. He has been a healthy scratch in the last four games and in seven of the last eight contests.
Teams will have 24 hours to put a claim in on Paajarvi. If he goes unclaimed, the forward will be assigned to the Chicago Wolves. If he is picked up by another team, the Blues will shed his $1.2 million cap hit.