Rookie Schwartz will make Blues' final roster

2013-01-18T14:47:00Z 2013-01-18T15:02:10Z Rookie Schwartz will make Blues' final rosterBy Jeremy Rutherford 314-444-7135

Rookie Jaden Schwartz has wrapped up an impressive camp and figures to be on the Blues' 23-man roster when final rosters are due at 4 p.m. (St. Louis time) Friday.

"He's available for our selection," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Friday morning.

Schwartz, who is playing on the left wing after lining up at center in Peoria, is expected to suit up for Saturday's season opener on a line with Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart.

It appears the Blues will be keeping 14 forwards, which means Chris Porter will likely be the odd-man out. 

The Blues will eventually keep seven defensemen on the roster, but Friday's signing of free-agent Wade Redden and the fact that he won't be available until Monday at the earliest, will force the Blues to keep an extra defenseman in St. Louis for the time being.

Ian Cole will get the assignment of playing with Alex Pietrangelo Saturday night against Detroit. But Cole could be fighting for a spot in the starting lineup by the time the Blues travel to Nashville Monday to face the Predators. Redden did not hand-pick St. Louis as a free-agent destination because he though he'd be a No. 7 defenseman.

While the Blues await Redden's arrival, Jeff Woywitka will stay with the club as the No. 7 defenseman and then likely be sent to Peoria after the weekend. The team announced that it has released veteran Colin White from his pro tryout.

For those who think Woywitka might stay in St. Louis and sit as the No. 7 defenseman, allowing Cole to play on a regular basis with the Rivermen, the Blues seem to prefer that Cole stay in St. Louis. He's shown his most improvement the past couple of seasons when working out with Blues associate head coach Brad Shaw

The bottom line is, as the Blues set their final roster Friday, there will be still be some shuffling in the coming days....and weeks, according to Hitchcock. 

"It's always tough at this time of year, but it's just the factual stuff that goes on," he said. "To be honest with you, this is one day of the roster. I think the players that you saw play (in Thursday's scrimmage), that whole crew, that's the crew that's going to play games this year.

"Now how many each guy plays is going to be up to him, but I think everybody in the league, the way they've loaded up with extra players, knows that this is a 30-man roster you're about to go through and you better be ready for it. With that group that played yesterday that went back to Peoria and the group that was in today, that's going to be the group that we're going to draw players from."

Jeremy is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @jprutherford.

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