As fans, we should never wish bad things upon our own players. However, when a player plays well at one level and cannot for the Blues, it becomes slightly irritating.
The St. Louis Blues are finally seeing the kind of player they wanted all along in Dmitrij Jaskin. The problem is that they are not seeing it in a Blues jersey. They are seeing the performance unfold on the international stage.
Jaskin has been a solid reason the Czech Republic is doing so well in the 2018 IIHF World Championships. Through five games played, they have nine points. The format is a bit odd, so a record of one win, three OT wins and one regulation loss has them at their point total.
Regardless of how they have come, the Czechs have four wins and sit in third in their group as of writing. Despite having some NHL talent on their roster, they are mainly getting by on grit and determination.
That is partly where the frustration with Jaskin’s success comes from. He is simply playing a different style than we see him use with the Blues.
Jaskin has three goals and five points. I’m no math wiz, but that’s a point per game. Additionally, it is not as though the goals have come in garbage time against weak opponents. Two of Jaskin’s three goals were game winners in overtime. He is stepping up at the right time while wearing the crest of his country.
Just to put this offensive spurt in perspective, Jaskin has three goals and five points in five games, as mentioned. He had six goals and 17 points in 76 games with the Blues in 2017-18.
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So, internationally, he can score a point per game. With the Blues he scored a point every 18 games. Even Jaskin fans can pick up on where the frustration would be.
Now, there are big differences here. The NHL and international hockey have a completely different style as far as checking, physicality, space on the ice, etc. Still, scoring is scoring and Jaskin has never found that kind of touch in the NHL.
The fear, personally, is that the Blues get fooled by this performance. As much credit as I give Doug Armstrong compared to much of the fan base, it cannot be argued that he has a tendency to overvalue the players already in the fold.
Jaskin is set to be a restricted free agent this summer. I feel we have seen enough to let Jaskin go. However, the Blues might see this tournament and think he’s finally figured it all out.
Jaskin did improve his forechecking and defensive skill this past season. The combination of these goals might be glittery fool’s gold to the front office.
I’m not usually ever one to advocate against a player, but it just feels like there are other options for fourth line players and that is what Jaskin has amounted to. It would be great if he could take this offensive success and bring it to the NHL. It just is not going to happen.
The smartest thing the Blues could do would be to take this tournament and use it to show other teams for trade bait. Of course, it would be unlikely that Jaskin is the featured piece in a deal, but you give him a qualifying offer and then package him as part of a larger deal. That would be the smartest thing to come out of this.
Again, it feels strange to almost not want one of your guys to perform, but it is just frustrating to see it happen for other teams and not yours. There are excuses, but it is still a stylistic issue. Even if the goals did not come with the Blues, you don’t see a free-flowing, confident offensive player at the NHL level like we are seeing with the Czechs.
All the best to him for finding a scoring touch over in Denmark. It would be unwise to think the same will happen if he’s still wearing the Note next season though.