ST. LOUIS -- In the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, the St. Louis Blues will turn to a 20-year-old who is making the jump from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League straight to the NHL.
Dmitrij Jaskin, the 41st pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut Tuesday night when the Blues face the Vancouver Canucks at Scottrade Center.
Jaskin, who joined the Blues in Nashville a week ago, has taken part in every practice and every drill thus far. And with the Blues mired in a drought of five goals in five games, going 3-2-0, coach Ken Hitchcock will insert the 6-foot-2, 196-pound right wing into the lineup and give him his opportunity.
"He looked a little off-balance taking nine days off when he first came here, and then I thought the last two days ... what convinced me to give him a chance, and I'm kind of excited to look at him, was we did a really hard down-low offensive drill yesterday," Hitchcock said of Jaskin. "It was a very difficult drill, and he scored against NHL players and it was a hard drill and he found the back of the net, he put it through the back of the net. I was really impressed. He got whacked around really good yesterday down low, and he stood his ground and was determined to put the puck in the net."
Jaskin comes in with impressive credentials. He led the Moncton Wildcats and was fifth in the QMJHL with 99 points (46 goals, 53 assists) in 51 games. Prior to the 2012-13 season with the Wildcats, Jaskin spent two seasons in the Czech Extraleague playing for Slavia Praha, where he had 12 points in 63 games.
"Every day is better and better. I feel good," Jaskin said following the morning skate. "It's seven practices, I guess. I feel good and I'm ready.
"Everything's new for me here. Every day is something new. The game is faster and every guy has big skill. I think there will be a lot of new things for me. ... I will try to work for the team and take every puck and make some chances for the guys. Hopefully they help me too."
Neither team skated with a full squad Tuesday morning. The Canucks faced the Nashville Predators on Monday. The Blues are playing their fourth game in six nights.
Here are the probable lineups:
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Derek Roy - Ryan Kesler - Jannik Hansen
Mason Raymond - Andrew Ebbett - Zack Kassian
Steven Pinizzotto - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise
Dan Hamhuis - Jason Garrison
Alexander Edler - Kevin Bieksa
Andrew Alberts - Keith Ballard
Scratched: Cam Barker, Tom Sestito.
Injured: Christopher Tanev (lower body), Manny Malhotra (IR, eye), David Booth (ankle), Chris Higgins (lower body).
David Perron - David Backes - Alexander Steen
Andy McDonald - Vladimir Sobotka - Chris Stewart
Jaden Schwartz - Chris Porter - Vladimir Tarasenko
Adam Cracknell - Patrik Berglund - Dmitrij Jaskin
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Jordan Leopold - Kevin Shattenkirk
Barret Jackman - Roman Polak
Scratched: Kris Russell, Ian Cole, Ryan Reaves (likely, although Hitchcock will not make a decision on who sits in favor of Jaskin until after the pre-game skate)
Injured: T.J. Oshie (IR, foot/ankle), Jaroslav Halak (groin), Scott Nichol (lower body), Jamie Langenbrunner (IR, hip).