After making his NHL debut on Thursday, Ivan Barbashev returned to the minor leagues.
Ivan Barbashev’s first regular-season stint in the NHL wasn’t a long one. After playing 10:03 and registering a team-high four hits in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Thursday night, the 21-year-old forward was reassigned to the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, on Friday morning.
Barbashev, a second-round pick of the Blues in 2014, was recalled Thursday morning after the Blues placed fourth-line center Kyle Brodziak on injured reserve with a foot injury. Barbashev will likely see action in the Wolves’ Saturday night game against the Cleveland Monsters, but it’s very possible that he could be recalled for the Blues’ next game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. The team has a four-day layoff due to the All-Star break, so Barbashev’s reassignment allows him to keep playing and the Blues to save some cap room during the break.
Especially against a big, physical team like the Jets, the Blues may prefer to use Dmitrij Jaskin as the fourth-line center and bring up another more experienced player like Wade Megan or Magnus Paajarvi to serve as a healthy scratch rather than recalling Barbashev. However, the physicality that the rookie showed in his NHL debut on Thursday night should help his cause if he wants to earn a spot in the lineup against Winnipeg.
Despite their inconsistency this season, the Blues have remained rather healthy, and Barbashev is one of just 26 skaters that they’ve utilized as we head into the All-Star break (with Megan and Barbashev having played just one game each). As injuries ran rampant, the team was forced to use 30 different skaters before the break in 2015-16.