Remember when St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz crashed into a net in practice and fractured his ankle back in late October. After seven games, Schwartz was going to eat bench for a while and left the Blues truly short handed. No one will mistake Schwartz for Alexander Ovechkin when he returns, but it's wrong to reject the effect that he has on the Blues lineup.
The Blues were 5-1 before Schwartz's injury. More importantly, they had scored four goals in four straight games before Schwartz went down. Early season quickness or not, give it a name, Schwartz makes this Blues team more complete and gives them a few lines to shoot dangerously from. He gets on with the ice with a team that has won three of its last four games and scored four or more goals in those wins, beating up on Pittsburgh Monday night at Scottrade. Getting Schwartz back will make this team even more dangerous.
While the first person to say out loud, "Getting Schwartz back will be like making a great trade", should be hit in the head with a brick, it's not unreasonable to expect this team's scoring ability to go up when he gets back. Schwartz has notched back to back 20 goals seasons and is an all around gritty player and game to game contributor. He can play on a line with anyone and add something unique.
The 2010 1st round draft pick doesn't have a return date but the fact that he is back on the ice, skating with the team and doesn't feel any side effects is an encouraging development. While Paul Stastny has found life on a line with Troy Brouwer and Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko is merging well with Robby Fabbri, Schwartz can add to the depth when he returns. Upon his return, the team will be as whole as they were in April when they fell to the Minnesota Wild in the playoffs. Cue the "We know what happened then" crowd.
Every season is a chance for the Blues to not choke and fuck up. Does the addition of a Fabbri add another layer of game changing ability to this team in April? Yes. Fabbri is a much needed skill guy. Does the fact that the team have two elite goaltenders help them in the back end? It sure does. Schwartz gives the Blues that perfect combo of skill and grit. Someone who can crash the corners on the forecheck and use his hands in front of the net to create a play.
His return won't fix the team but it sure will shore up a leak in the depth on the four lines. It may actually push Magnus Paajarvi down to a fourth line player or occasional scratch, where he needs to be.
In the end, Jaden Schwartz makes the Blues a lot better team. Now let's go beat the shit out of Detroit.