Hockey isn’t much different than any normal life. Sometimes change is good. Gives you a chance to have a fresh start, a new outlook on life even. For a few Blues prospects this week, a positive change is very much what they are looking for.
In what is being called a “conditioning stint” Sundqvist will be making his way down to San Antonio for a few games. The wording of the movement is due to the fact that the Swedish center is on a one way contract, meaning he would have to clear waivers. Mike Yeo and company have struggled to find the right fit for Sundqvist. To find that right balance of allowing him to grow and not be a liability to the club.
The one who is occasionally called Sunny only has three points on the season, all being assists. Sundqvist plays a more defensive game which is important at the NHL level as accountability in preventing goals is incredibly important but finding a bit more goal scoring flair could use work. Playing a few games for the Rampage could spark something in the 23 year old, you can only learn so much in practice.
Sometimes I scratch my head wondering why certain moves are made, this isn’t one of them. This being Walman’s first season as a pro getting plenty of ice time always the goal. To test your limits in every situation, the AHL is leaps and bounds above college hockey. The Blues placed Walman with the Chicago Wolves, a setup that hasn’t exactly worked out as well as one would have hoped. With just 13 points on the year in 40 games played, the offensive defenseman hasn’t been featured in a prominent role for the Wolves. Sure the Wolves are “in it to win it” but developing younger talent is just as important.
Walman’s new home is the Binghamton Devils, the fourth AHL franchise to have a Blues owned prospect in their lineup. Currently the Devils sit at the bottom of the Northern Division with just 12 wins on the year. While that may be ugly for the local fans to watch this also will leave room for a player like Walman to make a stand, to stick out in their lineup.
As the Ottawa Senators 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes came to a close, so did Paajarvi’s first game dressing for another system, something he hasn’t done in around five and a half seasons. The Swedish wingers story is a bit of a tragic one. Sometimes being drafted high sets an unreachable bar that your talent just can’t reach. The tenth overall pick from the 2009 draft was a standout prospect in the Swedish Hockey League for two seasons before being thrown to the wolves that is the Edmonton Oilers pre Connor McDavid era in the late 2010’s.
Paajarvi has been placed in multiple roles on the Blues, none of which have worked all that well. A more successful player in the AHL, Paajarvi has racked up 99 points in 141 games playing for both the Chicago Wolves and the now defunct Oklahoma City Barons. Looking at his NHL numbers he has 97 points in 353 games dressed.
As much as people loved to lay into Paajarvi about his lack of goal scoring and being a threat on the ice, he honestly wasn’t a terrible player by any means. Not just anyone can play in the NHL, the level of talent it takes to make it to the dance per say is a steep learning curve.
Maybe Paajarvi was brought into the league too soon. I’ve been on the side that seasoning in the minors is way more important than rushing development. He’s a victim of the scouts placing him too high in the draft. But you can’t change the past so all the 26 year old can do now is focus on his future. The Senators are a team looking for plenty of change and Paajarvi is looking to do the same.