Blues coach says Schwartz has been their best player

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While relative newcomers such as Jay Bouwmeester and Derek Roy should carry some weight, the St. Louis Blues’ hopes for a deeper playoff run likely rests on the development of young players. From the sound of things, Jaden Schwartz could be one of those guys who makes a big jump.

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock praised the 21-year-old’s training camp work effusively to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday.

“He’s been our best player,” Hitchcock said. “I can put him anywhere he wants. Whoever he plays with, he makes better.

“He’s not one of those guys you question. We’ll find a significant role for him because we’re going to need him on the ice a lot. We’ll find a really significant role for him.”

The “whoever he plays with” element could be a catalyst for Schwartz improving on a tepid first full season of work; he managed 13 points in 45 regular season games and just an assist in six postseason contests in 2013. Those numbers could go up considerably if Roy and Chris Stewart are his linemates, as the Post-Dispatch anticipates.

(Tonight he’s rolling with Vladimir Sobotka and Dmitrij Jaskin, though.)