St. Louis Blues Canadian Players To Keep Playing This Spring

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Jaden Schwartz
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Jaden Schwartz /

The St. Louis Blues won’t be appearing in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in case you did not hear. That does not mean some of their players won’t see some action this spring.

When the St. Louis Blues got eliminated from playoff contention on the final day of the regular season, most thought they would hang up their skates, pack their bags and get ready for some golf. That’s not the case for a handful of guys.

Five Blues have been named to the initial roster for Team Canada in the 2018 IIHF World Championships. They will be playing from May 4 through 20, if Team Canada makes it that far in the tournament.

Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson and Vince Dunn were named to the initial 18 man roster. Given their offensive seasons, the first two names are a no-brainer. The defensemen were a little more surprising, given the sheer number of players Canada produces. They are still good selections.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise this many Blues got selected. Mike Yeo will be serving as assistant coach. Martin Brodeur is also the assistant general manager of the squad according to the Post-Dispatch.

Of course, Blues fans will be sweating just a tiny bit during this period. Given the amount of players that went down with injury this past season, it would be even harsher to lose someone during a tournament where they are not wearing the Note.

Injury is always a worry in any and every game played though, so you can only worry about that so much without letting it seep into the player’s conscious. It will still be a concern for fans however.

For the forwards, there is little to be gained other than playing for your country, which is always a source of pride for Canadians. The defenders have much more to take in.

Parayko is still young, but had a slight regression defensively. His offensive numbers were on par with what he’s done before. He got into some bad habits on the defensive side though. Playing some extra hockey in a slightly different system with new teammates might be good for him.

The same could be said of Edmundson. Injury set him back more than a regression in play. So, he could also benefit from extra playing time. Both those defensemen got used to having the same player next to them in their previous seasons, so having a fresh look could benefit them both. Of course, they might pair them together and that would make this argument null and void.

Dunn is probably the best selection for the Blues. He had a fine rookie season, but is still young and raw. The more he can play, the better.

Outside of Dunn, you could argue the extra time is a double-edged sword. Keeping in game shape and your mind sharp is important. The Blues wore down this season though, so rest might be better even for young players. It all boils down to the individual.

The surprising part is who was left off. There was no Jake Allen, Carter Hutton or Alex Pietrangelo named to the team.

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This is just an initial roster, so names can be added, but their omission is surprising. The goaltenders especially make you scratch your head.

Allen haters will ask why anyone would want him, but he is still a good player. If nothing else, he is an upgrade from Darcy Kuemper, the only goaltender currently named.

Hutton was one of the hottest goaltenders in the league as well. Though it was in a very small sample size, he led the league in several categories. He might not want to risk injury before free agency however.

Pietrangelo was an early Norris Trohpy candidate. He still put up good numbers, but his defensive game slipped. Still, to leave a high-profile captain out is interesting.

Now, it must be said that we don’t know these players were not asked. It might be that those three and others around the league were asked and turned it down. All we know for sure are the five that accepted.

These are the players they will be joining:

"Goaltender • Darcy Kuemper (Arizona)Defensemen •Thomas Chabot (Ottawa), Aaron Ekblad (Florida), Darnell Nurse (Edmonton), Ryan Pulock (New York Islanders)Forwards • Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders), Anthony Beauvillier (New York Islanders), Jordan Eberle (New York Islanders), Bo Horvat (Vancouver), Connor McDavid (Edmonton), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton), Ryan O’Reilly (Buffalo) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Ottawa)."

If nothing else, any team that has McDavid is going to be tough.

Next: Final Grades: Alex Pietrangelo

None of the Blues’ Swedish players were named to the initial roster, though that might change. We will see if any other names get added to the rest of the countries participating.

The tournament is in Denmark this year. For those that wish to follow it, NHL Network has shown a select few games in the past and are expected to do the same for this year’s tournament.