The St. Louis Blues had two players named to the NHL All-Star Game and could have had more. They were not quite as fortunate on the AHL level.
The St. Louis Blues had two players selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game and could have had at least one more. Despite a less than energetic game from the Central Division, prompting more thoughts about how to change the festivities, the Blues had a decent showing over the weekend.
Alex Pietrangelo won the passing competition and $25 thousand during the skills competition. Also, despite only a few shifts, Brayden Schenn was one of the few forwards that played reasonably well for the division.
Things are not quite as rosy for the Blues minor league players. Despite some late surges prior to the AHL’s break, the Blues only have one player represented in the AHL’s “midseason classic”.
Interestingly, it was not a name some might have guessed at first. Jordan Schmaltz will be the lone representative of the Note at the AHL level.
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The top minor league All-Star game takes place on Monday, January 29, one day after the top pro version. Schmaltz will be playing for the Pacific Division, representing the San Antonio Rampage.
He is very deserving of this honor. Despite only playing in 42 games with the Chicago Wolves last season, he still managed 25 points.
Through 30 games with the Rampage, he already has 22 points. Schmaltz has five goals and 17 assists to help San Antonio to the second most points in their division.
If not injured, you could have made a case for Sammy Blais. He had 23 points in 21 games. However, he might well be with the Blues if he was healthy.
You could also argue for Chris Butler. He has 22 points in 44 games, but his stats are only impressive for him, not overall. Plus, journeyman players tend to get overlooked at times.
Blues fans would loved to have seen Klim Kostin, but his surge came too late. He’s been scoring at a better clip lately, but struggled earlier in the season. Plus, the rosters were named on January 4, which was long before he started scoring again. He now has five goals, but only 15 points in 36 games.
Schmaltz seems to be the forgotten man when it comes to Blues defensive prospects. However, at the minor league level, he has earned this spot.
As we saw with the NHL All-Star Game, this is just an exhibition in every sense of the word. The AHL will play the same tournament, 3v3 style. Nevertheless, it is an honor in a player’s career to get recognized as one of the best in your division or conference or whatever the current set up is.
Schmaltz might never make the NHL full-time or he might end up being a regular. Just because he has not cracked the roster quite yet doesn’t mean much.
For now, he can only keep playing his game and “paying his dues”. Either his time will come or it won’t. The Blues do have at least three defenders that fans would like to see gone, so spots will open over the next few years.
If nothing else, he can always say he was an All-Star.