If there is a player St. Louis Blues fans want to see more of, it’s Ty Rattie.
Rattie, 23, has four goals and six points in 13 games for the Blues this season. While Rattie’s scoring numbers may not be much on the surface, it matches Magnus Paajarvi’s, who has played 41 games, and his goal totals tie Dmitri Jaskin’s, who has played 54 games.
Rattie, who was selected in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, also ranks first on the team in points per 60 minutes with 2.98. Yet, he is still unable to secure a roster spot in St. Louis.
On Feb. 29, Rattie was reassigned to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
“It sucks,” Rattie said Sunday of being sent down. “You want to be [in St. Louis]. It’s a bonus that I’m contributing. I’m proving I can be a full-time player there now. They have a full lineup and a veteran lineup, so I’m just down [in Chicago] playing my best trying to get back up there as soon as I can.”
Wolves’ head coach John Anderson echoed Rattie’s sentiments.
“The Blues are a really good hockey team, so it is really hard for him to fit in,” he said. “He’s a top-six forward, and their top-six forwards are pretty skilled guys. I don’t think St. Louis is ready to make a change, right now. He went up there, and he has four goals this season. He’s done his job when he’s been up there. Good for him.”
Rattie’s recall to the Blues on Feb. 23 marked the fourth time he has been called up this season. The latest stint lasted just two games, even though Rattie scored a goal in a 5-2 win versus the Carolina Hurricanes the night before getting sent back down.
“It’s not the ideal situation,” said Rattie. “Packing up and moving, packing up and moving. But it’s the NHL, and that’s the career I chose. I’m not going to say no. I love the game, so I’ll do anything to be there.”
Rattie’s reassignment, despite statistical success, has led some to believe that he may be in St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock’s and general manager Doug Armstrong’s dog house. However, that does not appear to be the case.
“Hitch isn’t much for words,” Rattie said. “Army tells me to keep doing my game. I think they’ve been happy with how I’ve played up there and so have I. I’ve just got to come down here and be a leader and get back up there as soon as I can.”
While Rattie has not exactly panned out as the Blues have hoped, he is slowly coming into his own offensively. And it could not have come at a better time for Rattie, who is a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
“You have to prove to them that they drafted the right player and want you long term,” Rattie said. “I’m happy with my year and my progression as a player. I’m turning more into a two-way player. Hopefully, [I can] make a playoff push with the Wolves and get a deal done in the summer.”
Given Rattie returns to the Blues next season, he should have an opportunity at making the team out of training camp.
“As a young guy, you don’t have a spot until they say you have a spot. I’m going in there and battling. There are 12 or 13 forward spots available, and I will do whatever I can to win one of those jobs.”
Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators and Chicago Wolves staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow Colin on Twitter, @FittsTHW, and e-mail him at email@example.com.