24-Year-Old Left Wing – St. Louis Blues
Jaden Schwartz Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $26.75 million contract with the Blues in July of 2016.
Schwartz played his first game of the season following rehab from an elbow injury and had two shots on net in 19:38 of ice time in a loss to the Oilers on Thursday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
One of the most impressive up-and-coming stars of the league, Schwartz took another step forward last year, setting new personal marks for goals (28) and assists (35) while clearing 60 points for the first time. He may not be very big, but there are few two-way forwards who can match Schwartz's hands, speed, scoring ability and defensive commitment, and he's a major asset to the Blues on both the power play and the penalty kill. It seems likely that he'll occupy the top-line left wing spot opposite fellow rising star Vladimir Tarasenko, but it's unclear whether Jori Lehtera or Paul Stastny will be called upon to fill the role of the man in between. Either way, you can't go wrong investing in Schwartz this year.
Playing in his second NHL season as a 21-year-old, Schwartz took a dramatic leap forward for the Blues, placing fourth on the team in scoring (56 points) and first in plus/minus rating (plus-28) to firmly entrench himself as a top-six forward for the foreseeable future. At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Schwartz is far from a specimen, but his strong finishing skills, on-ice speed and passable defense on the back end help to negate some of his physical limitations. The Blues’ forward ranks look quite crowded again in 2014-15 with Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera added to the fold, but it shouldn’t result in a diminished role for Schwartz on the left wing. While another jump in productivity on the level of last season’s breakout probably is out of the question for Schwartz, it wouldn’t be surprising if he notices a slight uptick in his scoring, especially if he sees top-line work in the event of an Alexander Steen injury.
Schwartz got off to a slow start in his first full season in St. Louis, posting only three points in his first 19 games. But the speedy playmaker showed why the Blues selected him 14th overall in 2010 as he picked things up and closed out the season by scoring 10 points in his last 26 games. If he can build on that finish, he could break out for 15 to 20 goals and 35 to 40 points overall. He is worth taking a flyer at the end of the draft now that he has that first season under his belt.
Schwartz, a first-round pick in 2010, made the move from Colorado College to St. Louis late in the regular season and got his first taste of the NHL, playing seven regular-season games though not suiting up for the nine playoff games. The Blues are crowded with young forwards, so we don't expect to see the offensively gifted Schwartz as a top-six player this coming season -- but eventually he will be. Schwartz could land a spot on the roster, but there's a very likely chance he'll start the season in Peoria. He'll get the opportunity in training camp to be one of the top 13 or 14 forwards, but the franchise is more concerned that he's playing good minutes nightly.
The Blues have a good one in Schwartz, the reigning WCHA Rookie of the Year for Colorado College, for whom he scored a team-high 47 points in 30 games. An ankle injury cost him six weeks of hockey, but he was able to pick up where he left off upon his return in February. He helped lead the Tigers in a first-round ouster of defending champion Boston College before bowing out of the NCAA tournament one win shy of the Frozen Four. He’s set to return for his sophomore season at CC. A gifted passer and scorer, the Blues are anxiously waiting for Schwartz to add some heft to his frame.
Schwartz, selected 14th overall by St. Louis in the 2010 Entry Draft, is committed to Colorado College for 2010-11. He's got tremendous offensive skill, with the ability snipe and pass. He'll score points. He's got nice hockey sense, and understands where to go and how to get to the puck. The con at this stage of his career is his size and speed. He'll need to get bigger or faster or both, but he's just 18 and still has some growth left in him. It's too early to project his arrival in St. Louis, but the Blues anticipate he'll be a top-6 forward.