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Blues' Bouwmeester suffers left ankle fracture

Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues will likely be without workhorse defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to start the season. The veteran blue-liner suffered a left ankle fracture during a team scrimmage and will be re-evaluated in three weeks, the team announced Tuesday.

Bouwmeester's offensive ability has diminished in recent years, as he's failed to crack the 20-point mark in three consecutive seasons. The former third overall pick by the Florida Panthers is 33 years old, but remains an exceptionally smooth skater for someone who stands 6-foot-4.

His skating ability is what's allowed him to average 22:43 minutes per night during the past three seasons. He and captain Alex Pietrangelo form the Blues' shutdown defense pairing.

In Bouwmeester's absence, fellow left-handed shooting defensemen Joel Edmundson and Carl Gunnarsson will likely be asked to pick up the slack.

The Blues also announced that Zach Sanford, who was vying for a spot as a bottom-six winger, will miss five-to-six months with a dislocated left shoulder.

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