No doubt there were some who were wondering about Jaden Schwartz.
He was a No. 1 pick, after all, the 14th player taken in the 2010 NHL draft. He was discussed in exciting terms, projected as an impact player. But he needed two goals in a season finale against Chicago to reach seven goals and six assists in 45 games last season. And he was a minus-4.
Yes, it was a lockout-lacerated season, but it was not the type of impact people promoted. It was too easy to forget Schwartz had yet to reach his 21st birthday, that he was playing in the NHL after playing the previous season at tiny Colorado College.
No doubt, some wondered if Schwartz’ impact would be as checking forward rather than a significant offensive threat. If so, they were underestimating two important qualities in Schwartz, the two that made him special to begin with — intellect and intensity.
“He plays a complete game, a 200-foot game,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s always in the right place for support. He hunt...