CHICAGO -- Jaden Schwartz, signed to an entry-level contract Monday, will not make his Blues debut Tuesday in Chicago.
It's not a surprise that Schwartz, 19, is sitting out. The coaching staff wants to get him acclimated to the NHL game and process all the information necessary before throwing him into the fire.
"I don't think it will take him long to get used to things," Hitchcock said of Schwartz, the 14th pick of the 2010 Entry Draft. "At some point on this road trip we're going to want to get him into the lineup and see how he looks and get him a good go. First of all, we just need to get him grounded a little bit.
"He's a pretty confident guy. I don't think nervousness ... I guess when it's his turn to play he's going to be a little bit nervous. I think the one thing is he's comfortable around the guys. He knows the guys. It's not like he's walking in new here. He's been around the organization a little bit in various levels. He knows management, he knows some of the players. I think he's comfortable there."
"I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll do whatever they ask of me," Schwartz said Monday. "When they think I'm ready, I'll do what I can to contribute."
With the availability of Alexander Steen and Matt D'Agostini unknown because of concussions, Hitchcock said Schwartz can become an important element.
"You can't have enough good players at this time," he said. "I think with the style of game he has, being such a confident 200-foot player, you never know. You're going to be using these guys.
"If we don't get Steen and D'Agostini back, he's going to be a necessary add come playoff time."
Schwartz signed with the Blues following the end of his second season at Colorado College, where he had up 15 goals and 41 points in 30 games this season. He also had 5 points in six games while serving as team captain and helping Canada win the silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship.