So when will Jaden play in the NHL?

This full-time Blues blogger suggests that former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will get into his first NHL game Saturday or next Wednesday. He had dinner with the Blues Monday and is available Tuesday night at Chicago.

Here is the blogger’s write-up. Click the link above for the full entry.

Some may question the rationale for using one year of Schwartz’s ELC on the final 15 games and the playoffs rather than opting for an ATO contract and an introductory stint in the AHL with the Peoria Rivermen. The move does break from the protectionist trend of not rushing prospect development. But every such scenario must be handled based on the needs and capabilities of the specific player. Comments from made by General Manager Doug Armstrong today indicate that the Blues feel that Schwartz is mature enough to handle the late season intensity and the uncertainty surrounding the returns of Alex Steen and Matt D’Agostini factored in to the decision.

The opportunity to add a quality difference maker with the only cost being a minimal increase in payroll, around $128,000 prorated for 15 games, is simply one that cannot be passed up. Keep in mind if Schwartz signed an ATO he would only be available to the Rivermen. There is no one on their roster that could be recalled with the blend of skill and hockey sense Schwartz possesses. Not Phil McRae, TJ Hensick, Brett Sterling, or Evgeny Grachev.

Given that a year is being burned off his contract it’s doubtful Schwartz will spend much time in the press box once he gets up to speed. So long as he can assimilate in to Ken Hitchcock’s system. A pretty safe bet he can considering one area of improvement highlighted in our chat last year was how playing at the collegiate level helped his defensive game.

Schwartz will wear the number 9 and is not expected to play Tuesday in Chicago. A reasonable target would be Saturday in Tampa or even next Wednesday in Anaheim. There are not many full practices this juncture of the season and it may be that long till he can get a couple in.

Bluenotes

– No word on if the Blues will sign Jaden’s brother Rylan to an ATO. Since he went undrafted he is free to sign with any NHL team. He could also remain at Colorado College for his senior year.

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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 20-plus years of experience.

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