Evaluating The Nick Schmaltz/Dylan Strome Trade

Late yesterday, in a move that seemed to baffle more people than it satiated, the Arizona Coyotes traded Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini to the Chicago Blackhawks, and in return they got Nick Schmaltz.

For those still clinging to the hope that Dylan Strome will be a top 6 NHL player one day, this trade is an atrocious move on behalf of the Coyotes. For those who have moved on from Strome, Schmaltz could be a short term helping hand to help the Coyotes get a leg up in the historically poor Pacific Division.

Frustrations had long been voiced within the Coyotes fanbase about the development of Dylan Strome. From a prized first round pick to teetering on the edge of ‘bust’ status, concerns were quickly raised debating whether his skating was at the level of an NHL forward. It took Strome three years to accrue just 48 NHL games. You have to search all the way down to the 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft to find a player from the same draft who has appeared in less NHL games than Dylan Strome.

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Old Friends Meet Again

Now on the Blackhawks, it looks like the intent of bringing Strome over in the trade will be to try and rekindle the chemistry that he and Alex DeBrincat had on the Erie Otters during Strome’s draft year. If it works, that’s a slam dunk win for Chicago.

In the below tweet from Craig Morgan of The Athletic, he mentioned that John Chayka, General Manger of the Arizona Coyotes brought up in a press conference that hoping that a prospect like Strome develops isn’t the best mind-set when building your organization.

The Coyotes got tired of hoping that Dylan Strome could be anything other than what all signs are pointing towards: a career fourth line centre who can win you some faceoffs and not provide much else.

The other player sent to the Hawks is Brendan Perlini, who has 57 points in 153 NHL games, and his contract is up at the end of the season. He’s the least interesting piece of this whole trade, and will likely shake out as little more than a bottom 6 role player for the duration of his NHL career.


In return, the Blackhawks said goodbye to Nick Schmaltz. Schmaltz was a 2014 first round pick by Chicago and is currently on an expiring entry-level deal. Schmaltz is a defensively sound forward with a positive career Corsi for percentage. He put up 52 points in 78 games on the struggling 17-18 Blackhawks team. He has 11 points in 23 games to start the season, not ideal for a player you’d hope would only be getting better with each year.

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But, the Blackhawks and the Coyotes are both second last in their respective divisions— this might just be a move to give three players a breath of fresh air in a hope to rekindle the careers of three mediocre players.

The expectations are once again on Dylan Strome. He hasn’t proved able to live up to them in the past, and DeBrincat might be the last chance to breathe some life into Strome’s career before he fizzles out completely. Until we see what they can do together, we might have to hold off judgement on who won this trade.

Stats from hockey-reference.com

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