No doubt there were some who were wondering about Jaden Schwartz. He was a No. 1 pick, after all, the 14th player taken in the 2010 NHL draft. He was discussed in exciting terms, projected as an impact player. But he needed two goals in a season finale against Chicago to reach seven goals and six assists in 45 games last season. And he was a minus-4. Yes, it was a lockout-lacerated season, but it was not the type of impact people promoted. It was too easy to forget Schwartz had yet to reach his 21st birthday, that he was playing in the NHL after playing the previous season at tiny Colorado College. No doubt, some wondered if Schwartz’ impact would be as checking forward rather than a significant offensive threat. If so, they were underestimating two important qualities in Schwartz, the two that made him special to begin with — intellect and intensity. “He plays a complete game, a 200-foot game,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s always in the right place for support. He hunts the puck and creates problems for teams because of his great stick.” Noticeably thicker than during his rookie season, more sure of himself and his surroundings, Schwartz has been a difference-maker this season — as Hitchcock related — at both ends of the ice. Nothing highlights his capabilities better than a play he made in Colorado on Wednesday night, helping the Blues end a four-year winning drought at Pepsi Center. Having just allowed a weird goal that cut their lead to 2-1, the Blues took a penalty to put the Avalanche on a power play. Their momentum in the Mile High City was losing altitude quickly.
Blues’ Schwartz is making an impact
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Dec 1