Blackhawks

Blackhawks

Rough news for ol' friend Nick Schmaltz. 

Schmaltz, who was traded from the Blackhawks to Arizona in late November, will miss the rest of the year with a "lower body" injury:

More specifically, Schmaltz is being shut down with a knee injury:

The center had been playing better for the Coyotes, notching 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 17 games since the trade. Comparatively, Schmaltz only put up 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 23 games for Chicago. 

Fans may look at this trade as a “win” for the Blackhawks now for multiple reasons, but it still could be beneficial for both sides long-term.

First and foremost, there was plenty of speculation about the type of salary figure Schmaltz was going to command as a restricted free-agent after this season. If anything, 25 points in 40 games this season might knock his value down even further – thus helping the Coyotes keep him at a much more reasonable cap hit. And still, Schmaltz is just 22 years old and has the physical tools to be a top point-producer in the NHL. 

 

The prevailing sentiment around Schmaltz is that he would put up more points if he would just shoot the puck more. In 17 games with the Coyotes, Schmaltz had one or zero shots on goal in seven of them, and only had more than three shots in one game. 
On the other side of things, Dylan Strome has had a bit of a renaissance with the Blackhawks, posting 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in 21 games since the trade. By comparison, Strome had only 16 points in 48 career games with the Coyotes.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s helped rejuvenate Patrick Kane. 

Many around the Blackhawks were puzzled when head coach Jeremy Colliton shuffled the lines to have both Strome and Artem Anisimov – a pair of centers – on the same line with Kane. But it had worked wonders. Per frozenpool.com, Kane and Strome have been on the same line in nearly 63% of even-strength situations since the trade of Schmaltz.

In the 21 games since that trade, Kane has exploded for 11 goals and 18 assists.  Time will tell if this trade really turns out to be a “win” for either the Coyotes or the Blackhawks, but for the time being, the Blackhawks have to be pretty happy with the way Dylan Strome’s game is trending.

Schmaltz has been on Injured Reserve since January 3rd, last appearing for Arizona in a 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.