Blues News: Grachev Assigned to Peoria

Yes, I was wrong. I honestly expected the Blues to carry 23 players for a while since they had at the start of the season. I should not forget the needs of Peoria. I am ashamed Rivermen fans. A thousand apologies. Today the St. Louis based crew was reduced by one.

St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Wednesday the club has assigned forward Evgeny Grachev to the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen.

In 17 games this season the former New York Rangers prospect accumulated 2 assists while averaging 8:44 per game.

Grachev had an outstanding camp on a line with David Backes, but started the season as a healthy scratch before making headway by earning a stint on the 4th line and holding it down. In a few brief opportunities, late in games looking for a goal, he was moved up a line and did well enough given the situation. In his prolonged chances on a scoring line he did not fare as well. Namely his one infamous disjointed period with Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart in which Ken Hitchcock promptly sat him for most of the following 20 minutes.

He was not the same player after that game.

Combine in his regression and the increasing health of the Blues lineup, it was time to send him for a stint in Peoria. Exactly where he should have started the season, but the injury to BJ Crombeen in the final preseason game alter those plans.

Partially because he is Russian (and also because he is skilled with “upside”), Grachev as earned a small, but pugnacious following of fans. Needless to say they are upset at the move. Hey, if my favorite prospect was sent to Peoria, I’d not like it either. But, bear in mind he isn’t being punished.

He’s being tested. That’s a good thing.

As Dave Eminian tweets, the big guy will partner up with another big guy with aspirations of getting back to the NHL.

Grachev will play w Phil McRae. PEO opens 3 in 3 Fri at Oklahoma City.

Yes, the Rivermen play three games in three days starting Friday. The AHL just works that way. They go from OKC to San Antonio Saturday and then Houston on Sunday. With the Blues rolling sans Grachev on the ice and Peoria hit with some injury issues, they need the bodies more than the press box does.