There seems to be a lot of things that are not going according to plans for the St. Louis Blues since last season. First of, many people believe the team would still push for a playoff berth close to the trade deadline, however, they shock everyone by moving star forward Paul Stastny and finishing the season a point away from the last wild card spot in the Western Conference, behind the Colorado Avalanche. Yeah... the Avalanche.
The Blues managed some impressive moves this summer, adding Patrick Maroon and Tyler Bozak to the roster, and might get another lucky break ahead of the season opener. While the eventual return of defenseman Carl Gunnarsson from hip and knee surgery means good news for the club, it appears to be bad news for another player on the roster. Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic recently reported that the return of Gunnarson could turn first rounder Jordan Schmaltz into their eighth blue liner.
Now, it seems like the former first rounder does not want to wait around and see if he will be placed on waivers or traded, he might have to be moved himself before the Blues pull the trigger on a move. Rutherford now believes that Schmaltz’s agent Kevin Overhardt declined to say if he’s asked the Blues for a trade but “it’s clear that Overhardt wishes his client had more of a chance to play in St. Louis, and if not here, then somewhere.”
Rutherford adds that a pair of NHL scouts, one from each conference, commented on Schmaltz’s mobility and puck-moving skills, which are attractive to other teams across the NHL.
“I just want to play,” Schmaltz said to Rutherford. “You want to play, especially after a game you think you played well. It only creates momentum and things like that. I need the reps, and from there, I’ll be able to gain the full confidence and my skill set can take over."
Schmaltz has been a member of the Blues’ franchise since he was drafted in the first round in 2012. But now, six years later, he remains the team’s last unsigned restricted free agent as the 2018-19 season quickly approaches. His entry level contract ended after last season, which was cut short due to injuries. The Blues might have to pull the trigger and make a significant move, especially if the blue liner himself demands a trade.