Frozen Tools Forensics: Jaden Schwartz

Chris Liggio

2018-09-28

 

One of the busier teams this summer, the St. Louis Blues are all in on an attempt to be Stanley Cup Champions in 2018-19. A team boasting depth, you’ll find the likes of Alexander Steen on the third line and Jay Bouwmeester as a third pairing defenseman potentially. This team has no excuse to not be one of the better performing franchises. Much of the discussion about them will revolve around the addition of shiny new toys in Ryan O’Reilly (ROR), St. Louis native Patrick Maroon, and the return of David Perron once again. Yes, the players who’ve been there will come up as well, surely sniper extraordinaire Vladimir Tarasenko, and physical Brayden Schenn. The funny thing is that this team’s arguably best player is oft in the shadows, with injuries having much to do with this. Jaden Schwartz, the unheralded star of the top line, needs his recognition too. Though he’s becoming the Kris Letang of forwards, his 35 points in the first 30 games he played better have put everyone on notice to how great a player he is. If you have not drafted for your league(s) yet, this is one player with injury concern absolutely worth taking the chance on based on ADP.

 

 

Let’s just get the ugly part out of the way first and foremost. If you select Schwartz in your draft(s) you need to have a contingency plan in place for when he inevitably goes down. 2013-14 was the last time he cracked 80 games in a campaign and although he had two 70-plus contest seasons sprinkled in since then, one has to surmise he will find himself on the IR. Regardless, last year on a bolstered St. Louis Blues squad, Schwartz took a step forward offensively on a line with Schenn and Tarasenko, amounting to a 0.95 pts/gm in 62 outings. Only tapering off statistically in the third quarter, the 52 points in the 50 games that compromise quarters one, two, and four need to have him way higher in all rankings. Now in 2018-19, this team is arguably even deeper, making for good chances of another strong outing for the Wilcox native. Yet every mock draft I partake in, I am grabbing him way down the board and laughing to myself. I also do this when selecting Kyle Palmieri late, draft him too folks. Schwartz ice time has been on the rise every year since 2015-16, with him also seeing over three minutes of power play time on average last year. There is a risk he is split from one of Tarasenko and Schenn this time around with O’Reilly now in the fold, but Schwartz can thrive regardless of deployment. Arguably on that line last season, he, not Tarasenko, was the stra