St. Louis Blues Must Decide Who To Keep In AHL/NHL

ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 9: Aaron Ekblad
ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 9: Aaron Ekblad /

The St. Louis Blues made a few internal roster moves. They are quickly approaching the point where they need to decide who is staying in the pros and in the minors.

The St. Louis Blues made a handful of roster moves on February 24. The first, was the most expected. The Blues activated Nikita Soshnikov from IR. He is mostly an unknown, but hopefully he can bring a spark since he has no link to the current slide.

The others were a slight surprise, but not totally unexpected. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues recalled Tage Thompson and Jordan Schmaltz.

Also included in that move was demoting Sammy Blais and Chris Butler. The Blais move was slightly surprising, but the Butler one not so much.

Blais was simply the victim of unfortunate circumstances. The last two times he has been recalled, Blais has gotten injured almost immediately.

The most recent one was the poorest of luck. He could not even last a full period before he was knocked out of the game against San Jose. Blais was never diagnosed with a concussion, though he had to go through the league’s protocol. Prior to that, he hurt his leg the last time he was in the NHL.

Nevertheless, his demotion is a little surprising. He brings an energy and some speed when he’s out on the ice.

More from Editorials

Butler’s demotion was not shocking at all. He had had a few cups of coffee in the NHL, but seemed to be little more than a depth piece in the AHL at this point in his career. However, he deserved the call up due to strong play in the minors and some injuries with the big club.

That said, his couple games with the Blues were far from good. He was directly responsible for at least two goals against and on the ice for three.

To counter, the Blues brought up Schmaltz and Thompson. Thompson is not surprising as he seems to respond every time he gets sent down to the AHL.

Schmaltz is a little more surprising since he has no points in four NHL games this season. His AHL numbers are good though with 28 points in 31 games.

Beyond just the news of the callups becomes the idea that the Blues need to start making some decisions regarding these guys.

The team is in need of finding that right chemistry to get them into the playoffs. That does require tinkering and changes if a team is playing as bad as St. Louis has recently.

It’s hard to argue for continually jacking these guys back and forth. Eventually the Blues need to pick a player or two to keep up in the NHL and some to stick out the rest of the season in the minors.

In the defense of the coaching staff and the front office, nobody has taken the bull by the horns and demanded the team keep them up. However, there seems to be some odd decisions when guys are sent down.

Thompson is continually told he needs to find consistency and do some of the minor things to keep his job in the NHL. That’s all well and good except nobody on the Blues, save for one or two players, have been consistent or doing the minor things.

It is understandable to want to hold a highly touted prospect to high standards. When it feels the standards are higher than the NHL regulars though, it feels unfair.

The Blues have a lot of issues, but the constant swapping of guys from the AHL is getting a little frustrating. Mike Yeo and company need to make a decision and stick with it.

These guys need to learn and pushing through their difficulties along with the rest of the team could be important.

Next: Jaden Schwartz' Injury Was Straw That Broke Blues Back

The team needs to identify who will benefit more from getting minor league playing time and leave them there. They have to decide who can help this current Blues roster the most and leave them there.

All season I’ve tried to support the idea of guys needing playing time and understanding each demotion. That time needs to end.

Make some decisions and let guys actually settle into roles for the rest of the season.