The undoing of the St. Louis Blues last season was an unprecedented number of injuries, which put the team in a hole that they ultimately could not climb out of.
It seemed as though, during many parts of last season, that the team consisted almost entirely of beer league bruisers, with all of the pressure put on the two or three uninjured regulars to grind out a win. It was so ridiculous, in fact, that 36 different players were dressed over the course of the season, and only two of them managed to participate in every game.
The Blues have not been without injury this year as well, as both David Perron and B.J. Crombeen have missed every game so far, Andy McDonald has missed all but three and Carlo Colaiacovo, Kent Huskins, Vladimir Sobotka and Alex Pietrangelo have all missed at least one game due to an injury or illness.
The difference between this year and last year is depth.
Replacement forwards Evgeny Grachev, Chris Porter and Brett Sterling have all been excellent for the Blues and have emerged as hardworking players capable of playing strong offensively and defensively.
Defensemen Ian Cole and Cade Fairchild have also proven themselves as valuable call-ups, with Cole seeing time on a first-line defensive unit and Fairchild earning a spot on the Blues after playing outstanding defensively for their AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen.
Peoria is full of talented players, many of whom have NHL experience now and are waiting patiently for their chance to become NHL regulars.
You know the Blues have depth when former 50-goal scorer Jonathan Cheechoo isn’t even their first choice for a call-up.