Last week we discussed just one of the St. Louis Blues’ 2010 First Round Draft picks, and moving onto our second player profile leads us to the 14th Overall Selection in 2010, Jaden Schwartz.
Many of you are probably pretty familiar with Schwartz with his time with the Blues last season and his current status playing with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen. For those of you who are so familiar though, let’s take a look at the history behind the young sniper.
On January 22, 2008, Schwartz committed to playing for Colorado College for the 2010-11 season, but Schwartz’s professional career would begin during the 2008-09 season while playing in the Juniors for his hometown Notre Dame Hounds. Finishing the season fifth overall in scoring, Schwartz managed to put up some 34 goals and 42 assists in only 46 games. That is a total of 76 points in 30 less games helping him to win the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year award that season.
The next year, Schwartz would transfer into the United States Hockey League to play for the Tier 1 Junior team the Tri-City Storm. Following up his huge first professional season lots of eyes turned to Schwartz to see what he would be able to do in a new league. The end of 2009-10 saw Schwartz capture the USHL’s scoring title managing to record 33 goals and 50 assists, 83 points, in 60 games played and seeing him named to the First All-Star team. Following his incredible season, Schwartz was drafted by the St. Louis Blues.
Having already committed to Colorado College, Schwartz began his freshman season in 2010 as previously promised. In that first season, Schwartz played 30 regular season games and put up 17 goals and 30 assists. Entering the post season Colorado College was set to face the returning champions, Boston College. St. Louis Blues fans were in for a real treat that season as the city played host to the West Regional Semi-Finals in the same arena that the Blues call home, the Scottrade Center. In that first elimination game of the tournament, Schwartz recorded two goals and an assist in an 8-4 victory sending Colorado College on to the West Regional Finals. Mathing up against Michigan in the finals, Colorado College was held to just one goal in a 2-1 loss, but Schwartz did have an assist on the lone goal.
Schwartz missed 6 games the next season to play for the Canadian World Junior team in the 2011 World Junior Championships. While he was selected to play for Canada the year before, Schwartz fractured his ankle in the second game played causing him to sit out the remained of the tournament. The 2012 World Juniors would see a different fortune though, as Schwartz was named captain of the Canadian team. That year, Schwartz would appear in 6 games scoring 2 goals and 3 assists.
Meanwhile, at Colorado College the same season, Schwartz scored 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points in just 30 games played. Despite his remarkable performance, Colorado College was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Having been eliminated from the playoffs, Schwartz wasted no time signing a entry level contract with the St. Louis Blues on March 12, 2012. Waiting to practice with the team, and for Coach Ken Hitchcock to find him a place in the lineup, Schwartz finally made his NHL debut on March 17, 2012 in Tampa Bay. Schwartz was given the nod to start that night as Andy McDonald was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Skating on the second line with Jamie Langenbrunner and Patrik Berglund, Schwartz scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot on the powerplay 19 minutes and 24 seconds into the game.
Schwartz would appear in just 7 games for the Blues to end the season, but he did manage to net a total of 2 goals and 1 assist.
In the offseason there were debates among Blues fans as to where Schwartz would fit into the lineup in the upcoming season. After the signing of Vladimir Tarasenko it looked like there was not going to be a spot on the roster for Schwartz and that he would most likely start the season in Peoria. Unfortunately, due to the NHL Lockout, Schwartz never got the chance to earn a spot on the Blues roster and has been playing in Peoria all season so far.
In the 19 games he has appeared in so far this season, Schwartz has scored 5 goals and 4 assists. While many assumed that he would be able to put up slightly higher numbers, a lot of his troubles seem to be attributed to the overall performance of the Rivermen so far this season. Schwartz is known as a slick passer who plays well behind the net and can set up in front of the net, but with a lack of chemistry on his line, Schwartz appears to be trying to make up for the rest of the team.
Personally, I think that Schwarz would have benefited from playing alongside Tarasenko had he chosen to stay in North America rather than returning to the KHL, but we will have to wait to see these guys play together until the owners and players can come to an agreement. Schwartz has a ton of potential and could probably really benefit from practicing and traveling with the big club even if he were a healthy scratch on game day. Hopefully when the season starts, we can see Schwartz fight for a roster spot and if there are any injuries you will be sure to see him donning the number 9 again. Meanwhile, look for number 41 in Peoria.
As always, LET’S GO BLUES!