The long-awaited Jaden Schwartz return to St. Louis finally arrived on Tuesday night.
The veteran Schwartz, who spent 10 of his first 12 NHL seasons with the Blues but left via free agency in 2021, was injured for both games Seattle played in St. Louis last season.
Schwartz, alongside fellow departed Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, was a key catalyst in St. Louis winning the Stanley Cup in 2019; he led the Blues with 12 goals in 26 games during the ’19 postseason, and was a bona fide leader on the team.
And while it was heartbreaking to see him go, it was great seeing him return to the Enterprise Center on Tuesday.
“Yeah, very special. Obviously exciting and emotional at the same time, a lot of good memories here, a lot of good friendships,” Schwartz said. “This is a team that drafted me and brought me up. So many good teammates and memories.”
Schwartz, who had 154 goals and 231 assists in 460 regular-season games with the Blues, said he was able to get out with some former Blues teammates for dinner on Monday night and just “drove around a little bit and brought back a lot of good memories.”
As of the start of March 2023, there are only six remaining members of the 2019 Stanley Cup championship team still on the Blues: Tarasenko and O’Reilly were traded within the past two weeks to the Rangers and Maple Leafs, respectively.
Also returning on the Kraken is former Blue Vince Dunn, who is playing on Seattle’s top defensive pairing and playing in his 400th NHL game tonight. Dunn got his warm welcome back last season, but once a Blue, always a Blue.
“Always a place I’ll call home,” Dunn said. “A lot of special moments, a lot of special people still in the organization and a lot of special people in this city that supported me since the start of my career. It’s always nice to be here, excited for Jaden to be back for his first game. I’m sure they’ll do a nice little tribute. He was here even longer than me. I think for the both of us, it’s always special.”