Far too often we find ourselves making statements about players over every little detail. It’s apart of sport/fan culture for better or worse. This applies to a player like Dmitrij Jaskin in many ways.
At 24 he’s at that age where your “ceiling” as a player really starts to become more clear. Jaskin was a second round pick in 2011 and had a near 50 goal season playing in the QMJHL, his first stint in North America. Quite a bit of hype was put around the forward that he’d be a top line power forward for the Blues. While the chances of him racking up those numbers in the NHL are pretty slim, that doesn’t mean what Jaskin is bringing to the table now isn’t of value.
Ken Hitchcock never could quite get the most out of the Czech native, despite playing a heavier brand of hockey. Something just always seemed off. Sure there were flashes of Jaskin contributing more on the ice in terms of points as you only have to rewind back to 2014-15 where he had 13 goals in 54 games.
Sadly the past two seasons could be seen as a rough learning curve for the number 23. The ice time roughly stayed the time but hopping in and out of the lineup, only 55 shots all of last season, and playing in fourth line situations far too often doesn’t always spell for success. His time spent in the American League was successful, 46 points in 63 games over the course of a few seasons with the Chicago Wolves.
Perhaps more time in the AHL could have benefited him a bit more but Jaskin’s overall size continues to make coaches wonder how they can utilize it around the net.
But bringing things to Mike Yeo era of the Blues there does seem to be a spark. You could also say that Jaskin being on a one year deal could be pushing his performance along as well but it really doesn’t matter what is motivating him, its exactly what the Blues needed.
Finding depth scoring is everything in the NHL. The chances of your favorite team winning the cup with one lone goal scoring machine is just about 0% at this point. It just won’t happen in todays game. The final piece to the Jaskin puzzle is finding that consistent scoring.
Looking at Jaskin’s play and just what has changed for him it’s all about the little details. When you gaze at his overall ice time Jaskin currently sits around 11 or so minutes a game. This essentially falls in line with the past two years for him, literally the difference is a handful of seconds. But in 44 games played he already has 72 shots on net, an improvement from last season by 17. The Blues play a faster game but that hasn’t entirely squashed the physical play and Jaskin has thrown 112 hits on the year, 14 shy of his career high in 2015-16, that was in 65 games played. Worth noting for those that love players who block a shot for their club(who doesn’t) at 28 on the year this will be a career high for the winger.
Many will still throw their jokes at Jaskin for his lack of goal scoring, he has four on the year, or the fact he isn’t the fastest skater. The fact of the matter is we finally are starting to see a more complete player who is playing with confidence. The board battles are more prevalent, the skating has improved(to an extent) and defenseman are having more issues knock the puck off him. If you can’t put the puck in the net often every other factor in the game should be progressing.
Currently Jaskin makes 1,000,000 and is an RFA this coming summer. To say the days of seeing Jaskin in the AHL are over may not be entirely true. The Blues continue to find that right mix to survive the bloodbath that is the Central Division and while currently Jaskin does fit in those plans, he may not be in the future. All you can ever expect from a player is to find a way to be a plus to the team. By any means possible. Roster spots are a premium and its fun to finally say Jaskin has earned that spot.