Nick Schmaltz

Why Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz trade has become a win-win for both Blackhawks and Coyotes

Why Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz trade has become a win-win for both Blackhawks and Coyotes

It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long, but the Blackhawks and Coyotes will meet at the United Center on Monday for the first time since their Nov. 25 trade when Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome were sent to Chicago and Nick Schmaltz was shipped to Arizona.

And looking back on the move, it appears to be working out just fine for both sides.

Strome has 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 44 games with the Blackhawks; he had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 48 career games with the Coyotes. He's becoming the player the Coyotes thought they were getting when they took him No. 3 overall in 2015 in large part because of the comfort level he's always had with close friend Alex DeBrincat, which has allowed them to thrive in the shadow of and alongside franchise icons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and doing it in one of the top hockey markets in the NHL. 

And Perlini is unquestionably playing his best hockey of the season, potting three goals in his last four games and getting more ice time because of it.

"Perlini lately has been unbelievable," Patrick Kane said. "He's playing great. He seems to be a force every time he's on the ice. Obviously when you talk about Strome you think about how he's helped our power play. The numbers speak for itself. He's close to a point per game with us, given us more depth up the middle, really been a great fit in the locker room too, a guy that really loves hockey, still a young player, has a lot of potential too."

For Arizona, Schmaltz has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 17 games since the trade, and a shooting percentage of 17.2. He was playing top-line minutes before suffering a knee injury in January that shut him down for the remainder of the regular season, which is unfortunate because he's in a contract year. But the Coyotes are excited about where he projects in their lineup for the long term.

 

The Blackhawks and Coyotes should both be happy about what they got in return because it's turning out how each of them envisioned.

"It went a little smother for [Stromer]," coach Jeremy Colliton said of what Perlini and Strome have meant to the team since the acquisition. "He was able to produce right away and get a good feeling. He’s been a big part of the power play, had chemistry with [Artem] Anisimov and [Patrick] Kane for a while, they produced well for us. Now being with [DeBrincat] for a long stretch, too, they’ve scored some big goals for us and found a way to produce most nights. It’s been huge.

"With Perlini, really happy with his last stretch of games. He’s taken a step. Much more involved, giving us energy and winning races and battles. When he does that, his line has the puck more. He has skill, he has a bomb, big body, can take the puck to the net. Maybe the game in Dallas was his best game since he’s been here. Hopefully he can continue to improve."

While there's certainly some extra juice for the players playing against their former team, they want to channel it in the right way because both teams are fighting for their playoff lives right now.

"Yeah, obviously I'm excited to play them like anyone would be against your old team," Strome said. "I think at this point in the standings you want to do well individually but at the same time you want to get the two points for your team. They're fighting and so are we. It's a big game in the standings. Try not to focus on it too much and just go out, have some fun, make some plays and the rest will take care of itself."

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Hawks Talk Podcast: Did Blackhawks make right move in cutting ties with Nick Schmaltz?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Did Blackhawks make right move in cutting ties with Nick Schmaltz?

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Jamal Mayers joins Slavko Bekovic and Charlie Roumeliotis to discuss the three-player trade that saw Chicago send Nick Schmaltz to Arizona for forwards Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome. Why did the Blackhawks give up on Schmaltz now and who are they getting in Perlini and Strome?

The guys also talk about why Schmaltz was never able to reach his full potential in a contract year, whether Alex DeBrincat and Strome can rekindle the magic they shared with the Erie Otters in the OHL and how this trade impacts the Blackhawks’ plans next summer in free agency.

0:27 – Initial thoughts on the Schmaltz for Strome/Perlini deal

1:10 – Why did the Hawks give up on Schmaltz now?

3:00 – Did contract negotiations play into the timing of the trade?

4:20 – Patrick Kane disappointed in Hawks trading Schmaltz?

5:40 – Coyotes have pursued Schmaltz for a year

7:10 – What could Schmaltz ultimately become as a player?

8:50 – Trade frees up some summer cap room for the Hawks

11:15 – Fourth trade between Hawks and Coyotes in 18 months

13:30 – Schmaltz never reached his potential with Hawks

16:37 – What are Hawks getting in Strome & Perlini?

19:50 – Hawks hope change of scenery does wonders…again

21: 45- Can Strome/DeBrincat OHL magic be rekindled?

23:45 – How does Jeremy Colliton rework his lines?

26:00 – Hawks add young forwards to promising defense prospects for future

29:30 – Another former first-round pick traded by Bowman

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks trade Nick Schmaltz to Coyotes for Brendan Perlini, Dylan Strome

Blackhawks trade Nick Schmaltz to Coyotes for Brendan Perlini, Dylan Strome

The Blackhawks and Coyotes have gotten together on another trade as Nick Schmaltz has been shipped to Arizona in exchange for forwards Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome, the team announced late Sunday night.

Schmaltz, 22, has had trouble taking that next step in his progression with only two goals and nine assists in 23 games this season, which is a bit concerning considering he's set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. His cap hit is currently $925,000 and his next deal is surely to exceed that by at least a couple million, although it's unclear whether it will come in the form of a bridge or long-term deal.

Perlini, 22, has six points (two goals, four assists) in 21 games this season and is also in the final year of his entry-level contract that carries an $863,333 cap hit. He's coming off a campaign in which he set career highs in all three scoring categories with 17 goals, 13 assists and 30 points but has struggled to build on that this season, watching his average ice time drop to 13:44 from the 14:31 a year ago.

The 6-foot-3, 211-pound winger is known for being a power forward and can add grit to the lineup while also having the ability to score goals, although consistency has always been a question mark. Perlini was drafted 12th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, six picks before Schmaltz was taken.

Strome, 21, has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 47 career NHL games and a 58.0 faceoff win percentage this season, which is a substantial improvement from the 43.0 percent success rate last season and 40.3 from his rookie season. He is the second year of his entry-level deal that carries an $863,333 cap hit and could certainly benefit from a change of scenery, just like Perlini and Schmaltz. 

It helps that the former No. 3 overall pick in 2015 was linemates with Alex DeBrincat, whom he set records with in the Ontario Hockey League with the Erie Otters for three seasons together from 2014-17. Strome ranks No. 1 in Otters history with 354 points while DeBrincat ranks No. 2 with 332.

In the end, the Coyotes are hoping Schmaltz can evolve into a consistent top-six forward — whether that's at wing or center remains to be seen — while the Blackhawks are hoping Perlini and Strome could turn into legit top-nine forwards, with Strome a potential second-line center of the future.