Jordan Schmaltz is back in the NHL for the third time in the past week.
The Blues have been shuttling defensemen on and off the roster over the past week in order to keep the Wolves competitive, but at the same time, make sure that they have an extra defenseman available in case someone suffers an injury or comes down with an illness shortly before the game. Former second-rounder Tommy Vannelli, who spent most of the season in the ECHL, was up earlier in the week during the time between the end of the Blues’ first-round series with the Minnesota Wild and the beginning of their second-round series with the Nashville Predators.
With more serious responsibilities cast upon the seventh defenseman ahead of Wednesday night’s Game 1 against the Predators–the possibility of stepping into an NHL playoff game at a moment’s notice–the Blues returned Vannelli to Chicago and called up Lindbohm, who played in seven regular-season games for the NHL club this year. With the Wolves having clinched a first-round series victory on Wednesday night, though, the Blues on Thursday brought back Schmaltz, who quite obviously is the top blueliner on the depth chart beyond the regular top six.
In case you’ve lost track, this is the fourth trip on the NHL/AHL shuttle that Schmaltz has endured over the past week. He was assigned to the Wolves on April 20 as they began their first-round playoff series, came back up on April 22 to provide defensive depth for Game 5 of the Blues-Wild series, went back down the next day to play for the Wolves again, and now is back up with the NHL club again.
With the Wolves now taking a prolonged break from game action, it’s quite possible that Schmaltz will stick with the Blues until the Wolves begin their second-round series with the Grand Rapids Griffins next Wednesday (May 3). If Mike Yeo wants to make lineup changes after the Blues’ Game 1 loss to the Predators on Wednesday night, it’s perhaps even possible that Schmaltz could replace Robert Bortuzzo in the lineup for Game 2 on Friday.