Michael Sprague Article on Jaden’s NHL Debut
Jaden Schwartz, a sophomore forward from Colorado College, has signed an entry-level contract with the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues.
Exactly two weeks after making no additions before the NHL trade deadline, the injury-plagued Blues will benefit in adding their 2010 first-round draft pick for the stretch run.
GM Doug Armstrong and Coach Ken Hitchcock felt their current roster needed a boost, with the returns of Alex Steen and Matt D’Agostini still in question.
Fresh off a disappointing loss that eventually ended his collegiate career, Schwartz and the Blues quickly worked to get a contract in place.
At Colorado College, the shifty forward amassed a career 32 goals and 56 assists in just 60 career games. The Canadian native will look to add anything he can to the team that sits atop the NHL standings.
Schwartz will bring a great energy to an already strong team. Getting right into the swing of things with the NHL club, the Blues’ 2010 No. 14-overall draft pick possesses both the skills to perform as well as the will to use this as a learning opportunity.
At just 19 years old, Schwartz is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to hockey.
He works hard and loves being involved in the action, a quality the Blues value in his game. He has the potential to make a game-changing play on every shift.
Part of the reason Armstrong chose to sign the young winger now gives credibility to the mental game he possesses.
Schwartz is a natural leader, shown by his captaining of Team Canada in the 2012 World Juniors. You have to be if you are going to survive in the NHL at the age of 19.
While not an excessively flashy offensive talent, Schwartz’s skill set is one that will mesh well with the St. Louis Blues style of play. Two things that bode well for a playoff run—a smart, grind-it-out style of play and depth—are both aspects Schwartz adds to the Blues.
To that, Schwartz adds a natural playmaking ability that could be lethal once he develops.
Hitchcock has yet to speak about what line Schwartz will play on. Regardless, expect him to replace some of the versatility lost to the injury bug.
Work on multiple lines is probable, as Hitch is known to switch his lines on a nightly basis. This gives the young Canadian a chance to prove himself while still allowing him an opportunity to gain comfort at the NHL level.
Schwartz’s contract makes him immediately eligible to join the team. He is also eligible for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It remains uncertain when Schwartz will make his NHL debut. Be sure Coach Hitchcock will unveil his new weapon when the time is right.
In the end, adding a player with great playmaking ability and a natural sense for the game was too good of an opportunity to pass up for Doug Armstrong and company. Especially when that player is as well-grounded as Jaden Schwartz.
Hitchcock certainly welcomes the addition to his offensive arsenal.
As for Schwartz, a chance to contribute to a playoff-bound St. Louis Blues team this year is a tremendous opportunity.
The worst case scenario is he gains his NHL footing sooner than expected, knocking the nerves out before next year.
The best case scenario? You can imagine.
-“Jaden Schwartz Signs with St. Louis Blues, Adding Forward Depth for Playoff Run” by Michael Sprague, 3/12/12