With the unfortunate injury in practice to forward Jaden Schwartz this week, the St. Louis Blues recalled forward Ty Rattie from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. According to the team’s Twitter feed, Rattie was to see immediate action versus the New York Islanders. Schwartz is out at least 12 weeks and ultimately I expect Rattie to make the most of this NHL chance, but we didn’t see it at all Saturday night.
— #HockeyFightsCancer (@StLouisBlues) October 24, 2015
Rattie failed to make the opening night roster in St. Louis after a decent training camp this year though to be fair it was partly due to he veteran presences of Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez and not his own play. Rattie played in 11 games last season for the Blues, his first true NHL action, and managed 2 points (both assists) and 8 shots on goal. He made a cameo appearance in 2013-14 seeing the ice in just two games with the big club right before the playoffs began- not a memorable debut.
Changes to the roster during this past off-season created a situation where Rattie had a legitimate shot at making the roster out of camp for the 2015-16 campaign but he ended up starting the season in AHL Chicago. Granted he was the likely first call-up should injuries test St. Louis depth but it was another disappointment. Rattie began the AHL schedule red-hot for the Wolves which only made his choice to replace Schwartz on the roster easier. Here’s a look at his numbers through the first three games of the AHL season:
|2015-16 Regular Season||Chicago Wolves||3||4||3||7||1||9||0||0||0||0||0.000|
I really felt like Rattie missed a great chance to finally cement a spot on the Blues roster during training camp this year. At 22 years old it’s hardly too late for him to make his mark in the NHL but he’s now four years removed from his draft class with little to show for it. Undersized for today’s NHL wingers at 5’11” and 175 pounds, he may not be the guy banging in the corners and muscling opponents off the puck, but in his WHL and AHL time he’s shown a knack for finding his way into open ice and creating plays. Unfortunately for Rattie, 2014 draft pick Robby Fabbri looks ready for the NHL already, and Ivan Barbashev, another 2014 draft pick, appears to be on the fast-track to St. Louis as well, likely seeing a move to the AHL next season.
Rattie needs to excel now that he’s back in St. Louis with a chance to start every night early in the season. We’ll get a chance to see if some of that hockey sense translates to finally getting comfortable with the Blues. With Upshall, Gomez, and even Dmitrij Jaskin all ahead of Rattie on the depth chart it’s not going to be easy. With his first opportunity this year coming Saturday night at home versus the Islanders, Rattie made zero progress toward contributing and proving he belongs. He was practically invisible in the Blues 4-3 overtime loss. Granted, Coach Ken Hitchcock was shuffling lines and Rattie hasn’t spent time practicing with the team since camp closed. With the length of Schwartz’s injury there will be time for chemistry to develop. I’d like to see him on a line with Gomez and Jaskin.
There’s no question Rattie is going to have to really shine to stick at the NHL level in St. Louis. The Blues, when healthy, have too many good, NHL caliber forwards for his spot to be guaranteed. While many are already heralding the Schwartz injury as the death knell for the club’s offense and trade rumors already swirl about landing some top-9 help, Rattie could surprise everyone by coming into his own this year and helping the team continue to roll multiple goal scoring lines. If not, his time here may simply be to showcase him as additional trade-bait.