TAMPA BAY - Despite a strong preseason that saw him tied for the team lead in points, Sammy Blais found his name among the list of final roster cuts after training camp in early October.
Rather than hang his head, the 21-year-old forward reported to San Antonio with a positive attitude, then scored three goals and an assist in the first two games of the season.
Now Blais is back with the Blues and he will make his NHL debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 6 p.m. CT at Amalie Arena (FSMW, FSGO, KMOX).
"I was really happy," Blais said of being recalled by the Blues. "I'm going to play in my first NHL game tonight. It's a dream come true for sure. I've been waiting. When I was young, my dream was to play in the NHL and tonight it's going to happen."
Blais texted his parents after learning he was called up to St. Louis, and within an hour, his dad, Sebastian, and his mom, Mary Josee, had booked flights from Quebec City to Tampa for his debut. His brother, Etienne, and sister, Florence, will also be at the game tonight.
Video: Blais happy to make NHL debut
"I'll probably be a little bit nervous in the warm up, but I just have to do like I did in preseason and just play my game, play like I can play," Blais said. "If I do that, I'm going to get my chances. I just have to enjoy the moment. It's my first NHL game and it's not every day that happens."
Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said if Blais trusts his instincts, he's going to be just fine.
"You get one opportunity to have your first game in the NHL," Yeo said. "We've talked about some things with Sammy through training camp, and obviously we go over the systems again with him to make sure he knows that stuff, but we don't want him coming into the game thinking too much. I want him to play with his instincts, to go out there and show us things and prove why we called him up. He's an offensive player, he's strong on the puck, he has the ability to make plays and I want to see him get involved and do those things.
"He's a great kid. We're happy for him and excited for him."