The St. Louis Blues will get a key contributor back on Thursday night as Jaden Schwartz makes his first appearance of the season.
After missing the first four games of the 2016-17 season due to an elbow injury that he suffered during a training camp practice, forward Jaden Schwartz will make his debut on Thursday night, when the St. Louis Blues face the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. The 24-year-old Schwartz, who has a history of recovering quickly from injuries, was expected to miss about 10 more days when the injury was initially diagnosed last month.
He’s expected to jump back onto a line with longtime linemate Vladimir Tarasenko. They’ll be centered by Alexander Steen, who has moved back to the middle while center Jori Lehtera deals with an injury.
Schwartz, who signed a five-year, $26.75 million-dollar deal with the Blues this past offseason, has been one of the Blues’ top two-way forwards over the past few seasons. He was limited to just 33 games due to a broken ankle last season and his production suffered as a result, but through his 240-game NHL career, Schwartz has averaged 24 goals and 30 assists per 82 contests.
The Blues bought some extra time before trimming their roster on Wednesday, as they placed Lehtera on injured reserve, which will keep the center off the ice at least until the end of the team’s road trip in Western Canada, which wraps up at Calgary on Saturday. When Lehtera ultimately returns, the Blues will need to put a forward–almost certainly Magnus Paajarvi, Ty Rattie, or Dmitrij Jaskin–on waivers and try to get them through to the AHL Chicago Wolves. The fact that Rattie is being paid the least and has played in just one game would seem to signify that he’s the favorite to go.