Robert Bortuzzo trade Dec 8

Robert Bortuzzo was traded to the New York Islanders by the St. Louis Blues on Friday for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

The defenseman has been a healthy scratch in 21 of the Blues’ 25 games this season and has no points, with St. Louis giving an increased role to younger defensemen Tyler Tucker, 23, and Scott Perunovich, 25. Bortuzzo has not played since Nov. 18.

"I felt like I've done enough to stay ready all year and have done a little bit of this, coming out of the lineup, throughout my career," Bortuzzo said Saturday. "So again, thankful for the opportunity and excited for the opportunity. I've known that nothing's really given to you in this league, you've got to compete, and I've had to do that my whole career for a spot, and I look at this in the same light."

Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third round (No. 78) of the 2007 NHL Draft, the 34-year-old has 74 points (20 goals, 54 assists) and is plus-41 in 537 regular-season games in 13 NHL seasons with the Penguins and Blues. He has four points (two goals, two assists) in 55 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won the Stanley Cup with St. Louis in 2019.

Bortuzzo played 10 seasons with the Blues and is one of 16 players in their history to have spent at least that many seasons with them. He had 54 points (16 goals, 38 assists) in 424 regular-season games and three points (two goals, one assist) in 47 playoff games for St. Louis after being traded from Pittsburgh on March 2, 2015.

"Robert and I had talked over the last month or so," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told Bally Sports Midwest on Friday,"and he really wanted to get back on the ice and he wants to play again next year. And he knew he had to get on to a (new) team to get on the ice. … Where we’re at right now, we talked about over the summer with him that we have Tucker, we have Perunovich, we have some younger players that we have to see play.

"… He’s a true gentleman off the ice and a great character person, so this [trade] was actually not too [difficult to make] because I think it’s something obviously that I know he wanted and gives him a great opportunity."

New York placed defenseman Ryan Pulock on injured reserve Friday because of a lower-body injury sustained Thursday during a 7-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets and also is without defensemen Adam Pelech (upper body, long-term IR) and Sebastian Aho (upper body, IR).

Bortuzzo will make his Islanders debut when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; MSGSN, BSW). 

"You never want to see guys go down, but there are opportunities, and I'm excited to try and contribute and hopefully do some good things here with a good group who's looking to do some special things," Bortuzzo said.

"I'm just excited to come to a group who has had a lot of success over the years, is in win-now mode. I've heard nothing but good things about this locker room and the guys, and just truly thrilled to be here."

The Islanders (11-7-7) are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blues (13-12-1) are sixth in the Central Division and lost 5-2 to the Blue Jackets on Friday. independent correspondent Stefen Rosner contributed to this report