Too bad Jordan Schmaltz probably isn’t accumulating any frequent flyer miles.
After spending his first couple months in the NHL this season for the St. Louis Blues, the postseason has been a long, winding journey for rookie defenseman Jordan Schmaltz. The 23-year-old blueliner has played in seven playoff games over the past three weeks, but those games have come at two different levels, and he’s endured a ridiculous amount of travel over that period.
Here’s a look at the wild back-and-forth journey that Schmaltz has been on over the past 16 days:
Schmaltz played in the Blues’ Game 1 overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild on April 12, but after sitting for Games 2, 3, and 4 as Robert Bortuzzo returned to the lineup, Schmaltz was dispatched to Chicago as their playoff run began. His exhausting journey began on April 20, the date of the Wolves’ first postseason game:
After Schmaltz played in the Wolves’ first two playoff games, he rejoined the NHL club on April 22 for Game 5 of the Wild series. He served as a healthy scratch for that contest, which ended up being the clincher as the Blues advanced to face the Predators in the second round.
With the Blues’ first round series over and the Wolves still fighting for their playoff lives, Schmaltz was swapped out for Wolves defenseman Tommy Vannelli–who spent most of the season in the ECHL and hasn’t seen any AHL action this year–on April 23. The move allowed the Blues to keep a seventh defenseman on hand for emergency purposes without handicapping the Wolves.
The Blues sent Vannelli to the Wolves in advance of Game 1 of their second-round series with the Preds, opting to recall Petteri Lindbohm, who’s quite a bit more reliable as a seventh defenseman in that he’s played parts of three NHL seasons. After Schmaltz and the Wolves wrapped up a first-round series victory over the Charlotte Checkers on April 26, though, the rookie defenseman rejoined the Blues on the 27th as Lindbohm returned to the AHL.
With the Wolves’ second-round playoff series with the Grand Rapids Griffins beginning on Wednesday night, the Blues sent Schmaltz back to the AHL club so that he could help them out for Game 1.
After the Wolves’ 4-1 loss to the Griffins on Wednesday night, Schmaltz rejoined the NHL club on Thursday morning.
With both the Wolves and Blues playing on Friday night, it remains to be seen what Schmaltz’s fate will be. He hasn’t missed a playoff game with the Wolves yet, but with the Blues down 3-1 playing for their season on Friday night, they might not want to take any chances this time around.
It’s certainly still possible, though, that they’ll do the gameday switcheroo thing with someone like Vannelli or Lindbohm again.