Blues’ Scandella out for months after hip surgery

FILE - Marco Scandella of the St. Louis Blues handles the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 in St. Louis.  Marco Scandella is expected to miss most of the next NHL season after undergoing surgery on his right hip joint.  The team say Scandella is set to be re-evaluated in six months after sustaining the injury during off-season training in late August.  (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

FILE – Marco Scandella of the St. Louis Blues handles the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 in St. Louis. Marco Scandella is expected to miss most of the next NHL season after undergoing surgery on his right hip joint. The team say Scandella is set to be re-evaluated in six months after sustaining the injury during off-season training in late August. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

PA

A few days before the opening of training camp, the St. Louis Blues have a hole to fill on their blue line.

Defenseman Marco Scandella is expected to miss most of the next NHL season after undergoing surgery on his right hip joint. He was injured during offseason training at the end of August and will be reassessed in six months.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong announced the timing of Scandella’s absence on Tuesday. The camp’s first on-ice sessions are scheduled for Thursday, with the season opener scheduled for October 15.

Scandella’s injury is another change to a position that has undergone a nearly complete overhaul since St. Louis won the Stanley Cup in 2019. Only top defenseman Colton Parayko and veteran crusher Robert Bortuzzo are left of that group, which now includes Torey Krug and Justin Faulk in prominent roles.

Scandella, 32, is expected to remain on long-term injured reserve, relieving the Blues of his $3.275 million salary cap. Nikko Mikkola was already thinking of taking on a full-time role at 26, and it wasn’t immediately clear if Armstrong could bring in another veteran to compete for a spot on the roster.

The injury could provide an opportunity for 24-year-old prospect Scott Perunovich, who played 26 NHL games last season. Perunovich, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top college hockey player while at Minnesota-Duluth in 2019-20, impressed his teammates in his first year as a pro, especially during the numerical advantage.

“He moves the puck at the right time,” said forward Robert Thomas, who signed an eight-year, $65 million contract this summer. “He’s smart. I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed about a guy who’s just come into the league is he’s so patient and calm, especially getting the puck out. He loves to skate, he loves to make a quick first pass and, yes, I think he has a lot of potential.

Scandella joined the Blues in a trade with the Canadiens before the deadline in 2020. He played 755 games with Minnesota, Buffalo, Montreal and St. Louis.

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Naomi C. Amerson