The St. Louis Blues are off to a strong start to the season at 5-2-0, but their recent six-game road trip proved costly. Paul Stastny, the team's top center sustained a broken right foot on Oct. 16 and has been placed on injured reserve. He will be re-evaluated in five weeks.
This is particularly sour news considering how well Stastny started the 2015-16 season playing alongside Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen. The 29-year-old had five points to start the season including a goal and four assists.
It was a great start coming off of a somewhat disappointing 2014-15 campaign, Stastny's first with the Blues after signing a four-year, $28 million deal. He had 46 points in 74 regular-season games and notched just one goal in six postseason contests.
Jori Lehtera has been spending time between Tarasenko and Steen in Stastny's absence. Not having both Stastny and Patrik Berglund is far from ideal, but there's a lot of talent through the first three lines and Lehtera should be an adequate replacement on the top line. That should help the Blues weather the storm without two of their better forwards for the next several weeks.
Stastny's injury also should keep veteran Scott Gomez in the lineup for the foreseeable future. Signed after a successful tryout with the club in the preseason, Gomez has appeared in three games and has registered one assist.
Losing players is never good, but this club has structured their forward lineup well enough to manage injuries and maintain competitiveness.