St. Louis Blues Send Two To Minors; More Changes Following?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Ivan Barbashev
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Ivan Barbashev /

The St. Louis Blues are making roster changes while they have a break in the action. The question marks come once the team resumes on Wednesday.

The St. Louis Blues made two interesting roster changes on Sunday. They sent Ivan Barbashev and Samuel Blais down to the AHL.

Barbashev was assigned to the Chicago Wolves. Blais returned to the San Antonio Rampage, where he began the 2017-18 season.

It is definitely disappointing to see these two players sent down to the minor leagues. On the flip side, we cannot overreact. We can’t overreact because we don’t yet know what is going to happen.

The reason the Blues sent these players down is not solely because they were not living up to hoped expectations. The Blues had three days off between games.

After playing Las Vegas on a Saturday, the Blues would not see the ice for a game again until the next Wednesday to face Calgary. So, the team just decided to keep their younger players playing and hoping to improve.

“We have to continue to work on parts of his game without the puck,” Mike Yeo told the Post-Dispatch of Blais’ game prior to the Avalanche contest. “There’s a lot of drifting, there’s a lot of watching. He needs to play a game his linemates or teammates can read off of. But with the puck, he has things you can’t teach as a coach, whether it’s his instincts, whether it’s his skill level. Those things, he’s showing an awful lot of poise and maturity with the puck.”

Clearly the team is still high on Blais’ potential. That is the second time in as many weeks that Yeo has praised Blais’ ability and skill level. So, perhaps this is simply an attempt to recharge the batteries.

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On the other hand, the worrying thing is the part fans don’t understand. We see this potential in both Blais and Barbashev as well. However, fans get confused when praise is not met with trust.

Both players have yet to really hit the ground running statistically. However, we don’t really see the things that cause the coaches to cut their playing time either.

Barbashev only played about seven minutes against Vegas. Blais was dropped to the third line after starting on the second.

Coach Yeo made comments in that Post-Dispatch article about too much watching the play happen instead of being involved in it. I’m not here to dispute what he sees, but I see that same kind of thing out of veterans and they are not punished. I also see a lot less out of guys like Oskar Sundqvist and the team seems enamored with him.

Now the question turns to what happens in a couple days when the Blues return to action. Do they call up a couple new players or do they just give Barbashev and Blais another shot?

In the short term, if neither is brought back up immediately, we will likely see Sundqvist higher up the lineup. Chris Thorburn would also take up a fourth line spot.

The Blues could also pull a couple other players up. Klim Kostin, Tage Thompson and Wade Megan are all possibilities to be brought up. Each of them pose serious problems though.

Kostin would be very interesting to see in the NHL. He has not set the world on fire in the AHL though. He has four points, none goals, in five games.

Thompson was already in the spot that Blais and Barbashev are now. He earned a spot only to fall out of favor. He’s got a goal and an assist in the minors, but is that enough to re-earn his NHL spot?

Lastly, we have Megan. Megan already had a couple assists in his only game with Chicago, so his production never seems to drop off. The issue with him is he already had to clear waivers to be put down in the minors.

If you bring Megan back, you run the risk of not being able to send him down again. You can only do it so many times before a team claims him.

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Time will tell how the roster shakes out come Wednesday. Hopefully whatever the staff decides works out for the best.

If it was my team, I’d bring Blais back up and either Barbashev or Thompson. The Blues are in a win now mode, but these kids need to learn the ropes as well. You’re never likely to have a perfect scenario where they can play without any pressure to perform.

We will see in a couple days.