(HockeySTL) -- Desperate for wins and points, the Blues are receiving an important reinforcement Saturday against San Jose as Jaden Schwartz makes his much-anticipated return from a lower-body injury.
Schwartz, who has been sidelined for the last seven games after breaking his right foot blocking a shot on Dec. 16, has been activated from the injured reserve list by the club and will return to the lineup slightly earlier than expected. He was three days shy of the three-week mark.
"I never had this injury before, so I didn't know exactly what the timetable would be," Schwartz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Kind of a week-to-week thing, but the foot is feeling a lot better obviously. I haven't had too many hard skates yet, but I haven't been out too long, so hopefully it doesn't affect me too much.”
The Blues were 1-5-1 during Schwartz’s absence. Prior to losing the winger, the club had won five straight. Schwartz’s return couldn’t come at a better time for the struggling team, which has just three points in its last seven games.
Despite his unwanted break, Schwartz is still third on the Blues in points (27). His 11 goals are second on the team behind only Vladimir Tarasenko.
The forward has been skating with the team for the past two days. He wore a red no-contact jersey during Thursday and Friday’s practices, which limited his participation.
“It was really good,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said after Thursday’s practice as he alluded to Schwartz’s nearing return. “He went an hour, he felt good. He stayed for the first 20 minutes of practice and felt good doing that stuff.”
Schwartz has six points in his last six games, including a goal and assist in the game during which he sustained the broken foot. The winger has commonly been found lining up with Jori Lehtera and Tarasenko but there is no confirmation that he will return to that spot Saturday.
To make room for Schwartz’s activation, the Blues reassigned forward Colin Fraser to the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. Fraser played his first NHL game of the 2014-15 season Friday in Anaheim. He logged 4:42 of ice time and registered a minus-1 rating.