Blues' Schwartz Quietly Having Solid Postseason
By Patrick Hoffman
The talk of this year's playoffs in terms of putting up great offensive numbers has surrounded San Jose Sharks' forward Logan Couture.
This should be the case because as of this writing (May 14) Couture leads the league with 13 goals in these playoffs. Couture has been an absolute beast in these playoffs and does not appear to be slowing down when it comes to putting the puck in the net.
With the Sharks and St. Louis Blues currently (May 14) tied at one game apiece in the Western Conference Finals, one player other than Couture that we should be keeping our eye on is Blues' forward Jaden Schwartz. He may not have the big name or be surrounded by as many stars as Couture is, but he is definitely someone that has slid under the radar in terms of producing in the playoffs this year.
Schwartz, 26, currently (May 14) has 13 points in 15 games on nine goals and four assists. Those numbers have him atop the Blues' leaderboard in terms of both goals and points.
Schwartz has had a knack for scoring big goals in these playoffs. He is currently (May 14) tied for the team-lead with two game-winning goals and these goals could not have come at a better time for his hockey club.
In Game 5 in their first round series with the Winnipeg Jets, Schwartz scored a tie-breaking goal with 15 seconds to go in the game, helping to give the Blues a 3-2 series lead over the favored Jets. Schwartz then carried that momentum into Game 6 on home ice.
In his team's series-clinching win over the Jets in Game 6, Schwartz picked-up a hat trick in helping his team advance to the second round.
In those two games against the Jets, Schwartz was a man on a mission. He won every puck battle he was involved in, went hard to the net, and single handedly won his team both hockey games.
His head coach, Craig Berube, has been thoroughly impressed with how Schwartz has played in these playoffs. Berube explained to TSN Hockey writer Frank Seravalli that Schwartz's hard work is paying off in a big way at the right time for his hockey club.
“Schwartzy had a tough time putting the puck in the net during the year for the most part,” coach Craig Berube said. “The key was he just kept playing and working. He’s a worker. If he’s not our hardest worker, he’s one of them. That’s what he kept doing, working, and it’s paying off. He’s providing goals for us in the playoffs and great play.”
Schwartz's teammates also speak very highly of him, especially when it comes to how he is off the ice. Blues' forward Brayden Schenn is one of those guys who appreciates everything about his teammate and mentioned as much Seravalli.
“He’s a glue guy in our locker room. He’s so important,” Schenn said. “If you could be a fly on the wall in our locker room, he’s such a fun guy, everyone laughs with him.”
“Everyone wants to be around him,” Schenn said. “In the summer, he’ll be in Kelowna, Saskatchewan, Minnesota, Denver. You name it. Players call and he comes. He likes to have fun. He’s an unbelievable guy.”
While it's great for the franchise that he works hard and is well liked by everyone in the room, what matters right now is that he is being a big-time hockey player for his club.
With the Blues just three wins from making the Stanley Cup Final, one can expect Schwartz to go all out and play the way he has all postseason long.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave. He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.