|St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock will face the challenge of integrating the freshly signed Jaden Schwartz into the Blues well oiled machine without interrupting team chemistry. - Photo courtesy of Getty Images|
The move was made in part to get Schwartz away from Colorado College, where he had 41 points in 30 games this season, and to begin lacing it up for the Blues organization. It also was made to provide the Blues offense with a jolt as it is still uncertain when forwards Alex Steen and Matt D'Agostini will be able to return from concussion injuries.
While the addition of Schwartz is great news for Blues fans on the surface, the move could backfire if the Blues and head coach Ken Hitchcock are not careful.
Could bringing in a 19 year old kid at the end of grueling season cause chemistry issues for the Blues?
There is no question that Schwartz is plenty talented offensively. His offensive skills were clearly on display earlier this year when he netted five points in six games while serving as team captain for Canada in the 2012 World Junior Championships.
But besides the Blues stellar goaltending and defensive prow-less, possibly the biggest reason for the Blues success this season has been the exceptional team chemistry that has been a mainstay since Hitchcock took over behind the bench.
The Blues know their roles and they are happy to accept them. They work together as a team, support each other on both ends of the ice, and tirelessly pressure their opponents into mistakes.
But how will the Blues react when a 19 year old kid steps in and takes the spot of a teammate that has been there all season? A teammate that has been there to help earn all 98 points the Blues have accumulated through 71 games played? A teammate who sweated during training camp and endured yet another coaching change and all of the rough times of past seasons?
Many of these Blues have "grown up" together right before our very eyes this season. Guys like T.J. Oshie, David Backes, and David Perron have finally gelled into the type of prolific two-way players the Blues thought they could be.
But how will they react with a new "kid" on the block, arriving just in time to enjoy the success that guys like Oshie and Patrik Berglund created?
Schwartz is tentatively scheduled to make his NHL debut on Saturday night in Tampa Bay and he very well could provide the Blues with the late season lift the team needs heading into the playoffs. Schwartz could help the Blues win the President's Trophy. Or the arrival of Schwartz could destroy the Blues chemistry just before the playoffs start.
Schwartz is likely a great kid and will work hard and do his best to make an impact at the end of this season, but it is hard to tell what kind of impact Schwartz will have.
But it is clear that the Blues are bringing in Schwartz to start making the future now and hopefully not at the expense of the Blues team chemistry.