Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Jaden Schwartz (Part 1)

      In 2010 the St.louis Blues took somewhat of an "Off the Board" pick when selecting Jaden Schwartz 14th overall. Most had this undersized, but highly-skilled forward going late in the first round, but I think in a few years we'll all be saying this was a steal for the Blues.

Jaden Schwartz Jaden Schwartz, drafted 14th overall by the St. Louis Blues, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

      Before I go any further with this story I'd like to talk about what special qualities Schwartz brings to the Blues besides his "skill" and high hockey IQ. Jaden Schwartz brings leadership, heart, courage, and unbelievable strength. As I’m sure many of you know Jadens sister, Mandi, died in April of 2011. Mandi was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2008, and received a bone marrow transplant in September of 08. Unfortunately in December of the same year her cancer returned. During this time Jaden was going through the World Junior Championships, to make things harder on Schwartz, during the second game of the tournament he broke his ankle, ending his tournament. But before he was willing to call it quits in that second game, he scored a goal on his broken ankle. If that's not heart and desire, I'm not sure what is. Everything that Schwartz has been through has given him leadership and maturity beyond his years, which is why he was selected as Team Canada's Captain at the World Junior Championships in Alberta this past Christmas Break.

      Besides his leadership, and maturity, Jaden Schwartz will bring a highly skilled two-way game to the league leading St.louis Blues. Schwartz, 5-10, 182lbs, isn't very big but he has a hard work ethic and the drive to make up for any lack of ''size''. This drive gives him the ability to win battles for the puck along the boards, and in the corners. His skating isn't great but he's able to keep up without any trouble, and his skating doesn't suffer any with the puck either which is nice. Jaden Schwartz has a tremendous amount of offensive ability, which should excite Blues fans. It should take a few years for Schwartz to completely find his offensive game, but the Blues have enough offensive tools that he should be able to develop into that role without being rushed. On top of his great offensive potential, he also posses a great deal of defensive potential that could allow him to play a bottom six role with the Blues, at least until he can work his way up to the top six.

      If Schwartz stays with the big club for the rest of the season, and in the playoffs he'll be able to provide some depth to the team, which is going to be necessary is the Blues want to makes a big playoff push, which I'm sure they do considering they're sitting at the top of the standings. He's capable of scoring some goals both on the Power-Play and 5on5, he can also kill penalties if needed.

**Once Schwartz plays some games, I will provide a ''part 2" to this article talking about what he's brought to the team, and how he's been playing.

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