DETROIT • Prospect Dmitrij Jaskin could soon be joining the Blues.
Jaskin inked his three-year NHL entry-level contract last Wednesday, after which the Blues immediately assigned the forward to the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League. But apparently the Blues never intended him to play at Peoria.
Immigration issues have slowed the arrival of the Russian-born Jaskin, who played this season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. But now it appears that once his issues are resolved, Jaskin will be headed to meet the Blues on their current four-game trip.
“We might bring him right in,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Sunday in Detroit. “We’re hoping in a day or two.”
Jaskin, 20, was the Blues’ second-round pick (41st overall) in 2011. He spent the following season with Slavia Praha HC in the Czech Republic, and after he posted one goal and one assist in 30 games, the Blues had some questions about their own pick. But after he was released from his contract and joined the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the team’s questions went away.
In 51 games this season, Jaskin led Moncton and ranked fifth in the league with 99 points (46 goals, 53 assists). At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he was named the league’s No. 1 star in November and January.
“Everyone matures at a different time, not only skill-wise but also development-wise,” Armstrong said. “He’s got the size to play in the NHL right now, and our guys said he had a very good year, so we thought we’d bring him in now and take a look at him. We’ve felt that instead of adding a player that we weren’t really sure where he’d fit in at the trade deadline and giving up an asset, we would sign him and bring him in.”
Russell on wing
With Andy McDonald missing Sunday’s game because of the flu, the Blues were down to 11 healthy forwards. That pressed defenseman Kris Russell into the game on left wing, playing alongside Ryan Reaves and Adam Cracknell on the fourth line.
Russell, who had averaged 16 minutes of ice time in 30 games this season, logged 5:11 against Detroit and had one shot on goal.
“A little overwhelming, but it was all right,” Russell said. “I was just trying to keep it simple, more worried about the defensive side of the puck. ‘Revo’ and ‘Cracks’ talked to me a lot, so that helped.”
Russell, who played for Blues coach Ken Hitchcock in Columbus, said that Sunday was his first NHL game at forward, but he practiced in that spot with the Blue Jackets.
“Russ has played with us in Columbus as a forward, so that’s a no-brainer,” Hitchcock said. “I really liked Russ today. I know he only got six or seven minutes. It was that type of game, but I really liked the energy that he brought to the team.”
Right winger T.J. Oshie (bruised foot) is on the trip, but he did not play Sunday and won’t play Tuesday at Nashville. … Center Scott Nichol (lower-body injury) missed his third straight game Sunday and is not on the trip.