Aces get former 1st-round draft pick Schwarz

February 14, 2008 

The NHL's St. Louis Blues have assigned goaltender Marek Schwarz, a former first-round draft pick, to the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. He has struggled lately with Peoria of the American Hockey League.

The Aces will also get back winger Josh Soares, their leading scorer, who has been in Peoria of late.

Both players are expected to join the team in California, where the Aces have a game Saturday night in Stockton.

With Schwarz coming down, Aces goaltender Derek Gustafson is headed to Peoria for a spell to back up Hannu Toivonen, the Rivermen's No. 1 goalie and a former first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins. Gustafson was en route to Illinois on Thursday.

Alaska's lineup Saturday in Stockton will be bolstered not only by Soares and Schwarz but also by foward Brett Hemingway, acquired from Reading in a trade this week, and defenseman Ed Hill, whom the Aces signed last week.

The move to assign Schwarz to the Aces comes during a stretch in which Peoria is playing few games. After a game Friday against San Antonio, the Rivermen have games Feb. 22, 24 and 29. In that same period, the Aces have eight games scheduled.

While former first-rounders Schwarz and Toivonen are in the minors, former Aces goalie Chris Beckford-Tseu, a fifth-rounder, is up with the Blues.

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