Jakub Jerabek made his debut with the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, suiting up in place of Vince Dunn against the Calgary Flames. Jerabek arrived in a late trade with the Edmonton Oilers, bringing over additional defensive depth.
How’d he do in his debut? If we’re being honest, not too well.
Jerabek’s line: (-3), 1 shot and 2 penalty minutes in just under eight minutes of playing time.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that plus/minus is a mostly useless stat that’s used far too often to draw important conclusions. That point aside, picking up a (-3) in under eight minutes of time is one hell of a rough night. Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly and Patrick Maroon were also (-3) on the night, but that trio had more than double Jerabek’s playing time.
Jerabek needed to have a big game after the controversial decision to bench Dunn was made. Instead, he looked a bit lost and struggled to shut down the Flames. With Dunn and Jordan Schmaltz sitting as strong options, there’s no need to suit Jerabek up again until there’s a need.
It’s tough making a strong decision against a player after just one game, but it’s worth noting that he was mostly an unwanted part for the Edmonton Oilers prior to the trade. Considering the Oilers are always looking for defensive help, that may say a lot about what kind of form he’s currently in. The Blues can’t afford to wait for him to figure things out after starting the season with just one win in their first three games.
It’s possible he’ll turn things around, but for now it’s clear that the Blues shouldn’t prioritize starting him over some of the team’s other defensemen.