NHL burning questions
St. Louis Blues defenceman Marco Scandella will undergo surgery on his right hip joint and will be re-evaluated in six months.
According to the Blues, Scandella injured his hip in August while preparing for the upcoming season.
Scandella registered three goals, 11 assists and a plus-17 rating in 70 games in 2021-22.
The injury to Scandella is another change at a position that has undergone a near-complete overhaul since St. Louis won the Stanley Cup in 2019. Only top-pairing defenseman Colton Parayko and veteran grinder Robert Bortuzzo are left from that group, which now features Torey Krug and Justin Faulk in prominent roles.
Scandella, 32, is expected to go on long-term injured reserve, giving the Blues relief for his salary cap hit of $3.275 million. Nikko Mikkola already figured to take on a full-time role at 26, and it wasn't immediately clear if Armstrong might bring in another veteran to compete for a roster spot.
The injury could provide an opportunity for 24-year-old prospect Scott Perunovich, who played in 26 NHL games last season. Perunovich, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top college hockey player in the country while at Minnesota-Duluth in 2019-20, impressed teammates during his first year in the pros, especially while running the power play.
Scandella was acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens in February 2020.
The Montreal native has tallied 48 goals and 112 helpers in 699 career regular-season games over 12 seasons.
St. Louis went 49-22-11 to finished third in the Central Division last season. The Blues advanced to the second round of the playoffs where they were eliminated in six games by the Colorado Avalanche.
Scandella played in four playoff games for the Blues last season. but did not register any points.
The Blues are set to begin training camp on Thursday.
The club recently signed centre Jordan Kyrou to an eight-year, $65 million contract extension.
Kyrou's deal comes just two months after the Blues signed forward Robert Thomas to an identical contract that has both players signed through the 2030-31 season.
Forward Brayden Schenn ($6.5 million average annual value), defencemen Justin Faulk ($6.5M), Torey Krug ($6.5M) and Colton Parayko ($6.5M), as well goaltender as Jordan Binnington ($6M) are also signed through at least the 2026-27 season.
While Kyrou and Thomas are both now locked up, the Blues still face the proposition of losing their two highest-paid forwards this season to unrestricted free agency next summer with captain Ryan O'Reilly and forward Vladimir Tarasenko set to play on expiring deals.