The St. Louis Blues have been forced to go to the AHL a few times this season, most recently calling on Ivan Barbashev and Kenny Agostino to help the NHL roster. Typically AHL call-ups take some time to adjust to the pace of play at the NHL level and everything which comes with it, but Barbashev and Agostino have fit in nearly perfectly almost immediately.
How have the players been able to fit in so well? The Blues credit the Chicago Wolves and their coaches.
Via STLToday, Mike Yeo complemented the AHL group with having the call-ups ready to go.
“Craig Berube and his staff, they’re doing a great job with those guys down there. We’ve seen it with ‘Barby,’ he’s come up and he’s just fit in with our group. We saw it with Wade and now with Kenny, those guys are prepared. They’re winning hockey games down there, but they’re making sure that our players are prepared for when we need them and that’s a real credit to them. They have done a fantastic job because these guys come up and they’re ready to go.”
Previously, the system the Blues and Wolves used didn’t match or complement one another. That changed once Berube took over and the results are already being seen at the NHL level.
The players themselves have commented on the fact the jump from the AHL to the NHL is easier due to the fact they’re already familiar with the system in place. Instead of having to adapt to the speed and pace of the game in addition to learning an entirely new method of doing things, the players can focus on bringing their game up to the next level without worrying about the more technical sides of the game.
It’ll be interesting to see how the call-ups perform across a larger sample of games, but so far the Blues’ AHL affiliate has done an outstanding job preparing everyone.