On December 10, the St. Louis Blues announced that Jaden Schwartz was placed on injured reserve with an injury to his right ankle after blocking a shot with it. Now, Schwartz is a full participant in practice and has been medically cleared to play. Head Coach Mike Yeo said, “No easing him into it. He got the conditioning and he got the battle part of it and actually, he got through it, got through it really well.” But, will Schwartz be ready for the Blues matchup against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night or against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday? The Blues hope so.
The St. Louis Blues With Jaden Schwartz
Before his injury, the Blues had a record of 20-8-2. Because of this, they led the Central Division. In 15 of 30 games in that stretch, they scored four or more goals.Additionally, they also scored four or more goals in fully half of their games with Schwartz on the ice. Throughout that stretch, the team, with Schwartz in the lineup, often scored 5 and 6 goals. It was very productive time for the Blues.
Schwartz was a part of the Blues top line that also included forwards Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. This line combined for 102 points in the first 30 games of the season. Schwartz himself had 14 goals and 21 assists, equaling 35 points. With Schwartz in the lineup, the Blues were almost unstoppable offensively.
The St. Louis Blues Without Jaden Schwartz
The Blues have played 19 games without Schwartz. In those 19 games, the Blues have a record of 8-10-1, which is third in the Central Division. The Blues have only scored four goals twice without Schwartz. They have not scored more than four goals in a single game without Schwartz.
The first line now consists of forwards Ivan Barbashev, Paul Stastny, and Tarasenko. This line has combined for 32 points in 19 games without Schwartz. Brayden Schenn, playing without Schwartz and Tarasenko has 11 points in the last 19 games. Without the top line of Schenn, Schwartz, and Tarasenko, the Blues are struggling offensively.
Jaden Schwartz’s Career
Jaden Schwartz was drafted 14th overall by the Blues in the 2010 NHL Draft. This is his seventh NHL season. He has played in 348 career games in which he averaged 19:12 of ice time per game and has 247 points. He has had three 50+ point seasons and he is on track for another one this season. Schwartz’s season high in points is 63. At only 25 years old, Schwartz has the potential to build on his success before his injury and become an even better player.
The Blues need Jaden Schwartz back in the lineup as soon as possible. Not only that, but they need him back in the lineup playing like his old self, which will more than likely take a bit longer after his return. With 33 games remaining for the Blues, they need to be able to score if they want to make a deep playoff run. Amidst current goaltending and defensive struggles, getting the offense under control could be the first step in turning this team around.