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Jay Bouwmeester is back, but who should sit?

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Jay Bouwmeester has officially been activated from the IR, clearing a path for him to play in his first hockey game of the 2017-18 season on Tuesday. With Bouwmeester back in the mix, the Blues now have to decide which defender will spend some time in the press box.

Based on the team’s recent practice, Carl Gunnarsson is currently the man on the outside.

Fans who were worried Vince Dunn might be forced out by Bouwmeester can relax. Dunn has proven he belongs in the NHL (in a big, impressive way) and the Blues reportedly told him to plan on sticking around.

Gunnarsson may be the defenseman asked to sit out initially, but it’s doubtful he’ll be the only one. Robert Bortuzzo appears to be the other option the Blues could ask to sit, but for the time being it looks like his physicality gives him the edge over the better offensive option in Gunnarsson.

For what it’s worth, both Gunnarsson and Bortuzzo have four points on the season. Gunnarsson has the edge in goals (three to Bortuzzo’s one), but with Alex Pietrangelo and Joel Edmundson providing more than their fair share of goals, the Blues appear to be willing to sit the better goal scorer in favor of the muscle.

Critics were quick to criticize Bouwmeester returning. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, but those critics are missing the fact Bouwmeester is returning to a role where he should succeed. He’s no longer needed in the top pairing with Pietrangelo. Instead, he can slide in a bit lower in the lineup and add some of his veteran skill to a fairly young blue line.

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