(HOCKEYStL) - After signing an entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues two weeks ago, forward Dmitrij Jaskin will be suiting up for his first National Hockey League game on Tuesday when the Blues face the Vancouver Canucks.
Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch was the first to report on Jaskin’s debut on Sunday. With expanded rosters, Jaskin joined the club in Nashville last week and has been practicing with the team ever since. Jaskin had a nine-day break between the end of his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season and joining the Blues. The Blues wanted to be patient while the 20-year-old prospect became accustomed to the NHL and their team.
“Jaskin is an NHL-ready combination of size and skill,” said Blues’ Director of Player Development Tim Taylor. “His offensive prowess, physicality and hockey sense give him the versatility to play up and down the lineup and contribute in a variety of roles.”
Jaskin was drafted by the Blues in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward that plays a physical game and is strong offensively as well. Jaskin’s offensive skill was on display this past season in the QMJHL where Jaskin had 99 points (46 goals, 53 assists) in 51 games with the Moncton Wildcats. Jaskin struggled in the 2011-12 season, which he spent in the Czech League. Jaskin was originally sent to Peoria to join the Blues’ American Hockey League affiliate Peoria Rivermen but instead, the Blues elected to keep Jaskin in the NHL. With injuries to forwards T.J. Oshie and Scott Nichol, and a struggling offense, the Blues want to see what Jaskin can bring to their club.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock recently said Jaskin plays similarly to Blackhawk’s winger Marian Hossa. It’s clear the Blues are excited to see Jaskin play his first game. After skating with the team multiple times last week, the Blues feel comfortable declaring Jaskin NHL ready. After dropping their past two games, the Blues have just seven games left on the schedule. They are currently contending for a playoff spot with only a few points separating them from the Dallas Stars, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot.
There is no word yet on how Hitchcock plans to use Jaskin. As patient as the team has been with him, the Blues won’t overuse Jaskin in his first game, or any game he plays in down the stretch.