Blues Weekly: Blues HOF, Perunovich, Kostin Traded & More

The St. Louis Blues will play regular-season hockey this week. The 2022-23 season begins on Tuesday night with an ESPN doubleheader in the United States, but the Blues won’t play until a few days later on Oct. 15 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou
Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou (The Hockey Writers)

Last week was busy for the Blues as the preseason came to a close. They finished the preseason with a record of 6-2-0 after beating the Chicago Blackhawks 6-0 in the finale.

Blues Hall of Fame Introduced

The Blues introduced their own hall of fame earlier last week with the ability to further honor some of the franchise’s best players. There will be 10 automatic inductees in the inaugural class, with eight of them being retired numbers in the rafters. The other two inductees will be the franchise’s original owner, Sid Salomon Jr., and legendary broadcaster Dan Kelly.

The Blues are giving fans the ability to vote other players into the hall of fame for the inaugural class. The players and others available to vote for are Red Berenson, Pavol Demitra, Glenn Hall, Barret Jackman, Curtis Joseph, Mike Liut, Adam Oates, Alexander Steen, Garry Unger, Keith Tkachuk, Pierre Turgeon, David Backes, Wayne Babych, Al Arbour, and Scotty Bowman. The inaugural class should be tremendous, and getting the fans involved is a fantastic move by the organization.

Perunovich Will Undergo Shoulder Surgery

The news for Scott Perunovich is about as bad as expected, as he will undergo shoulder surgery that will have him reevaluated in six months. This opens up an opportunity for players like Niko Mikkola, Calle Rosen, and Tyler Tucker to get playing time they may not have otherwise gotten. It’s unfortunate for Perunovich to miss this much time with the injury history that he already has.

Overall, this doesn’t change much of the Blues’ operation over the past week on the blue line. It was expected from the time of the injury that Perunovich would miss games. Their blue line will be relying on Justin Faulk, Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, and Nick Leddy, and this was always the plan, even with Perunovich healthy. The hope now is that Perunovich gets healthy and can come back sometime in March or so before the playoffs begin. But as the clock keeps ticking, the more concerning it becomes with his inability to stay on the ice. He has so much talent, but the Blues can’t use it if he is injured.

Klim Kostin Traded to Oilers

The day has finally come for the Blues to move on from 2017 first-round pick Klim Kostin. They waived him earlier last week, and he went unclaimed. They then turned to the other obvious option, trading Kostin to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Dmitri Samorukov and a 2017 third-round pick. The Blues assigned Samorukov to the minors with the Springfield Thunderbirds for more AHL seasoning.

Dmitri Samorukov Bakersfield Condors
Dmitri Samorukov, Bakersfield Condors (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

As for Kostin, he will start the season in the AHL with the Oilers’ affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. This is because they must sort out his Canadian work visa. Kostin should be in the Oilers’ lineup at some point this season, and they can find out if a change of scenery works for him. This preseason made it clear that things weren’t going to work in St. Louis for Kostin. He has the potential to be a solid power forward, but not with the Blues. After many chances, things never changed for Kostin under head coach Craig Berube.

Related: Blues Trade Kostin for Defensive Depth in Samorukov

With Samorukov, the Blues get a left-handed defenseman with the potential to draw into the NHL lineup sometime soon. He played one NHL game last season (against the Blues) and had a plus/minus of minus-2. He had terrific offensive numbers in juniors with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). His AHL numbers last season were solid, with 18 points in 51 games and a plus-16. While I think Samorukov is likely the sixth-best left-handed defenseman in the organization with Perunovich injured, he could still play a depth role for them at some in 2022-23. This deal makes sense for both sides, so I have no issue with it.

Notable Roster Moves

As the final roster cuts are made, the Blues released Tyler Pitlick from his professional tryout (PTO) and waived Matthew Highmore and Martin Frk. Both players cleared waivers and will start the season with the Thunderbirds. Another notable transaction was sending Nikita Alexandrov back to the AHL, as he showed terrific promise in the preseason. With all of these moves, it looks like Jake Neighbours will be in the opening night lineup for the Blues. The Blues made a couple of procedural moves by sending Josh Leivo and Neighbours down to the AHL. This was to be salary cap compliant, but once they put Perunovich and Marco Scandella on waivers, both Leivo and Neighbours will be back with the Blues.

Jake Neighbours St. Louis Blues
Jake Neighbours, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Neighbours had proven his worth during the preseason, scoring three goals and three assists. He certainly deserves to start the season with the Blues, and I don’t have any doubt about that. Along with him, I expect Logan Brown and Noel Acciari to fill other roles within the bottom-six, as Brown had a terrific preseason. The final spot will eventually be Alexey Toropchenko, who seems to be recovering faster from shoulder surgery than expected. But for now, I expect Leivo to be in the bottom-six when the puck drops for their first game of the season.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Blues give Pitlick a contract once he recovers from injury, as he was playing well in the preseason. I think there’s also a good chance that Highmore and Frk will get a chance to play for the Blues this season with unavoidable injuries that occur.

The Week Ahead

  • Saturday: vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 PM

The regular season finally begins this week, as the Blues are set to open up on home ice with the Blue Jackets. The Blues’ lineup should become known during the week at some point, and then they will be ready to roll with a favorable October schedule to open up the season. As always, be sure to check out all the great Blues articles here at The Hockey Writers every day of the 2022-23 season.

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120

Latest News & Highlights