Last Sunday, the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes swapped a few former 1st round picks. Hawks GM Stan Bowman and Yotes GM John Chayka have built quite a strong trade relationship over the past year, making 4 trades together. This time, the Hawks sent 2014 20th overall pick Nick Schmaltz, 22, to the Desert and received 2015 3rd overall pick Dylan Strome, 21, and 2014 11th overall pick Brendan Perlini, 22, in return from Arizona. It may not seem like it, but this is a huge trade. This is 3 guys with tons of untapped potential. These teams are both coming off of terrible seasons and they hope this move will spark something to get them back in the playoffs.
For Chicago, this may be a short and long-term win. Strome came in right away and scored 2 points in his first game, playing alongside Patrick Kane and his best friend Alex Debrincat. Those 2 points are 1/3 of what he did in the first 20 games, so a pretty strong start to the rest of his season. He also showed some strong off the puck ability. For the England born Perlini, he played on the 4th line as coach Jeremy Colliton was easing him into the lineup. Even with his limited ice time, he still showed how valuable his skills can be. He scored 17 goals last season, so the Hawks believe he can hit that 20 mark. Both forwards did practice in Top 6 roles on Wednesday after an 8-3 loss to Vegas on Tuesday.
Dylan Strome, 21, (Left) and Brendan Perlini, 22 (Right)
On Arizona’s side, Nick Schmaltz is really solid pickup, even though he has had a very rough start to the 2018 season. Nick was a former top prospect for the Hawks that centered alongside Brock Boeser to win the University of North Dakota a NCAA National Title in early 2016. After being an important 2 way forward for Chicago in his 1st full NHL season, Schmaltz has so far appeared a bit lazy on defense. On offense, he is very hesitant to shoot the puck. His rookie season in 2016, he was sent down for seasoning because he was more shoot first, which they wanted him to be the opposite at the time. He had 52 points and was 3rd on the team in points in 2017, playing most of the season with Patrick Kane. Being a huge fan of his, I know he has the talent to be a 1st line player in this league, and hope he can get it going again.
Nick Schmaltz, 22
Both Chicago and Arizona are hoping that a change of scenery will spark the development of this trio of young players. It’ll be fun to see how this trade works out over the next few years, especially as Perlini and Schmaltz are both in contract years.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman
The most questioned thing about this trade however, is Stan Bowman, the son of the winningest coach in NHL history, Scott Bowman. Trading young players has become a staple of sorts for the Blackhawks GM. Since 2015, Bowman has traded each of the Top 10 of the 2015 “Top 25 (prospects) under 25”. Players from that list like Tuevo Teravainen, Artemi Panarin, and Ryan Hartman have all become every day NHL players. Why does he not like the young players? Contracts could be part of it but there has to be more to it. With all the strong prospects the Blackhawks have acquired in recent years, it may be bad news because Stan Bowman seems to hate young players.