With Paul Stastny close to a return, the Blues had to make a difficult move to clear roster space.
With center Paul Stastny skating again and on track to return for Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the St. Louis Blues made a move to clear roster space for him on Saturday night. Forward Kenny Agostino was returned to the AHL Chicago Wolves after nearly two weeks with the NHL club.
The decision to send down Agostino was somewhat surprising, as the 24-year-old winger was consistently noticeable for all seven games of his Blues tenure. He made his presence known immediately in his first game with the Blues, scoring on a breakaway to help lift the team over the Philadelphia Flyers, and he made plenty of heads-up plays, helping to spark an offensive attack that had been totally dormant prior to his arrival.
After previously losing Ty Rattie and Brad Hunt on waivers this season, the Blues apparently had no desire to put highly-paid but rarely used forwards Dmitrij Jaskin and Nail Yakupov through waivers. Jaskin, who has one goal and nine assists in 41 games this season, has played in just two of the Blues’ past 11 games. Yakupov has just six points this season (none since December 15) and has been a healthy scratch for six of the team’s past seven games
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Agostino had a goal and two assists in seven games with the Blues. The team was undefeated with him in the lineup until Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Buffalo.
He’ll return to the AHL, where still leads the league with 60 points–12 points more than the runner-up, Bakersfield’s Taylor Beck–despite the fact that he missed six Wolves games while playing for the Blues. He’ll rejoin center Wade Megan, who was a member of the successful “Wolf Pack” contingent of recent call-ups, but was sent down on Friday as Kyle Brodziak was activated from injured reserve. It’s likely that the remaining members of that group, Ivan Barbashev and Magnus Paajarvi, will rejoin Agostino and Megan in the coming days as the Blues have their collectively bargained five-day bye week.
With Agostino being sent down instead of the rookie Barbashev, it should be interesting to see which center the Blues move to the wing upon Stastny’s return. Patrik Berglund has more experience at the position than Stastny or Jori Lehtera, but he’s enjoyed a major resurgence while playing up the middle this year, and he also has a higher faceoff percentage than Barbashev or Lehtera.