With injuries starting to leave their mark on the Blues roster, the team finally signed forward Tyler Pitlick to a contract on Tuesday while putting Pavel Buchnevich on injured reserve.
“Good to have a job and go from there,” Pitlick said after practice at Enterprise Center. “Looking forward to getting in and playing. It should be good.”
Pitlick had been in camp on a tryout basis and was doing well, but then he got hurt and couldn’t play. The team told him to go home and get better and stay ready. After the team’s first game, Pitlick was back with the team and accompanied them, though he was unsigned, on the team’s just concluded three-game trip.
“I got to skate and practice and be around the guys, so it was it was good,” he said.
The Blues put Buchnevich on IR, but his situation has not really changed. He’s been out long enough that, with his IR retroactive to the day after his last game, which was Oct. 15, he’s eligible to play at any time, though that pretty clearly won’t be on Wednesday when the Blues face Edmonton. Blues coach Craig Berube said Buchnevich’s status was still day-to-day. Buchnevich and Brandon Saad, who also is day-to-day, were not on the ice for practice on Tuesday.
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Buchnevich “is getting looked at again today and re-evaluated today,” Berube said. “Just to try and speed up the process here a little bit. It’s not serious, but it’s aggravating so it’s keeping him out of the lineup.”
With Buchnevich out, Brayden Schenn skated with Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko, while Ivan Barbashev, who had been with that group on Monday, skated with Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou. Pitlick alternated with Jake Neighbors on a line with Logan Brown and Josh Leivo, though Berube said he was experimenting on Tuesday.
“He’s the type of player that you can use in a couple different spots,” Berube said. “He’s a good skater, penalty killer, he knows how to play the game properly. We like his speed and size.”
And he could be in the lineup soon.
“Yeah, there’s a real good chance for sure,” Berube said.
Pitlick signed a one-year, one-way contract for the league minimum of $750,000. He continues his bounce around the league; the Blues are his sixth team in the past five seasons and his seventh in nine seasons overall. If he gets in the lineup on Wednesday, he would be facing the team that drafted him 31st overall in 2010.
“I just think the way I play the game fits in with this team,” Pitlick said. “They want a guy that’s gonna go north and be physical and get on forechecks and just bring that energy every night and I think I can do that to help the team.
“We’ll see what happens here the next few games and how everything shakes out, but it’s gonna be good, I’m gonna get a lot of opportunity to have some good ice time and show what I got.”
They’ve got rhythm
After playing their first three games spread out over eight days, the Blues are now at a point of playing three games in four days. They don’t have more than two days off in a row until the Christmas break and play 18 games in the next 34 days.
“It’s starting to feel like more like a season,” center Logan Brown said, “so we get a chance to get back at it tomorrow and make up for the last night. It kind of feels like the season’s starting to get going right now.”
The Blues will be facing Edmonton on Wednesday for the second time in five days. After being shutout by the Blues on Saturday, Edmonton came back with a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh on Monday, scoring four goals in the second period while outshooting the Penguins 26-4.
The Oilers trailed 3-1 to Pittsburgh early in the second before Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists in the period. It was the 13th time Draisaitl had a three-point period.