After a busy offseason that saw general manager John Chayka sign both Christian Dvorak as well as Oliver Ekman-Larsson followed by the trade of Max Domi for Alex Galchenyuk, it seems as if he is not yet done re-tooling his active roster with later hopes of clinching the playoffs and capturing the Stanley Cup on his mind for a brighter future.
Furthermore, most recently the team signed Jakob Chychrun to a six-year contract extension, just one month into the regular season to further ensure the depth and promise that the organization has to come ahead.
Now, with the second month of the season very quickly creeping up on them, the Arizona Coyotes are still looking to add key pieces to the team and perhaps did just that on Sunday night following active negotiations both on the phones and within the team’s front office.
Just a matter of hours after having fallen to the Calgary Flames by a final score of 6-1, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca reported that centreman Nick Schmaltz was on the move from the Chicago Blackhawks to Arizona while full details of the remainder of the deal were still being discussed by both sides.
Friedman was back at it within two minutes of the initial report, adding on the fact of which Dylan Strome would be one of the pieces going back the other way as the return while eight minutes after that, he would bring it all to a close, noting that forward Brendan Perlini would be the second player heading out to officially complete the trade.
This was then re-iterated by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie who would also go on to note that no picks would be involved while also making mention of the fact that neither clubs are retaining salary on any of the players included in the agreement.
A club announcement was then made to officially confirm the transaction, a swap of three former first-round picks who will now have their skills put to the test somewhere else. Furthermore, it will also provide them with clean slates alongside new teammates while also serving under both a new head coach and general manager as well.
With this trade now officially in the books, Bob McKenzie notes that general manager Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks are betting on a variety of factors given the terms of the trade. For starters, one aspect worth noting would be the fact of which it would give Strome the ability to play second line centre behind captain Jonathan Toews.
To a greater extent, it would also give Strome and Alex DeBrincat the chance to re-create the chemistry in which they shared in the OHL, however, this time they will be given the opportunity to do it and to a higher degree at the National Hockey League level.
Thirdly, McKenzie mentions the fact of which this trade will ultimately improve depth and for both sides of the deal as the Blackhawks add Strome and Perlini, two skilled forwards just a year apart in age while for the Coyotes, it involves the acquisition of a young forward in Nick Schmaltz. Speaking of which, Schmaltz now joins a roster that includes the likes of Clayton Keller and Michael Grabner amongst an on-going list of many others as well.
In terms of the Dylan Strome acquisition portion of the deal, McKenzie adds on the fact of which Chicago likes that the Mississauga native has emerged as a top faceoff centre and therefore believe that his skill and smarts will be able to compensate for lack of pop in his skating stride.
When looking at Schmaltz on an individually skilled basis, McKenzie notes that the Coyotes obviously believe in Schmaltz and his potential and abilities given the season he just came off of that included 21 goals and 52 points, meanwhile, he also provides more speed at centre and will be able to make a bigger and more immediate impact in the middle when compared to Strome. In a brief sum-up conclusion, it just goes to show that it was worth giving up Perlini to get that perceived upgrade at C.
In a statement from John Chayka with regards to the transaction, he said of Nick Schmaltz, “Nick is a dynamic forward with top line potential. We feel he can be a core player of our team now and into the future. He’s a good complement to our evolving forward group and a rare combination of speed, skill and creativity.”
In taking a look at his performance for the 2018-19 season thus far, Schmaltz, 22, has scored two goals to go alongside nine assists, making for eleven points registered in a total of 24 games played to this particular point in time. He also adds six penalty minutes to his resume at this time.
Schmaltz was originally drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round (20th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and would later go on to make his NHL debut at the beginning of the 2016-2017 regular season. Schmaltz, a native of Madison, WI, currently weighs in at 6-foot, 177-pounds.
In taking a look now at the entirety of his career as a whole, Schmaltz has recorded 29 goals to go alongside 62 assists, making for 91 points registered in a total of 162 career NHL games played with Chicago. He also adds 30 penalty minutes to his resume.
As far as his statistics went for the 2017-2018 regular season, Schmaltz scored 21 goals to go alongside 31 assists, making for 52 points registered in a total of 78 games played. He also added 18 penalty minutes to his resume in his second season in the NHL.
In taking a look now at the opposing end of the deal, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in talking about both Strome as well as Perlini, “Watching both Brendan and Dylan play, I think there are a lot of attributes to their game that are going to translate well to how we want to play. They bring some size, they’re both big guys.”
In continuation now with the focus turned to Perlini, Bowman said after watching him skate for the first time, “In the case of Perlini, he’s a great skater. Fantastic wheels, great shot. He can really get the puck up the ice and put the puck on net and he’s got a great release. From that perspective, he can play a lot of different roles. He can play sort of up and down the lineup because he’s got that ability to skate and shoot. In Dylan’s case, he’s got incredible hockey instincts and skill level, passing… When you put it together, we got two NHL players on our team now for one.”
Taking a look now at Perlini’s performance for the 2018-19 regular season thus far in, the 22-year-old native of Guildford, United Kingdom has scored 2 goals to go alongside 4 assists, making for 6 points registered in a total of 23 games played. He also adds 8 penalty minutes to his resume in his third season in the NHL.
As for Strome’s season numbers thus far into the 2018-19 season, the 21-year-old Canadian has scored 4 goals to go alongside 4 assists, making for 8 points registered in a total of 21 games played. He also adds 6 penalty minutes to his resume in his third season in the NHL.
Perlini was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the first round (12th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and would later go on to make his NHL debut at the beginning of the 2016-2017 regular season.
Strome, on the other hand, was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and would later go on to make his NHL debut towards the conclusion of the 2016-2017 regular season.
Strome currently weighs in at 6’3, 200 pounds, meanwhile, Perlini weighs in at 6’3, 211 pounds. As noted by Chris Wescott of chicagoblackhawks.com, Strome adds a high level of skill and a great hockey mind. He’s a playmaker with good size.
Prior to his coming up with the Coyotes in the NHL, Strome spent time playing with the Erie Otters of the OHL where he scored 114 goals to go alongside 240 assists, making for a total of 354 points in 219 regular season games. This of course was spread out over the course of four seasons. This being said, the general expectation is that his best professional hockey is yet to make it’s appearance.
To this date, Strome has only played in 48 NHL games, however, over this time he has recorded 22 goals and 31 assists, making for a total of 53 points registered while he also happens to have participated in a total of 50 games played at the American Hockey League level last season.
In a statement from Dylan Strome made a short time after having been informed of the deal, he said to the Chicago Blackhawks media, “I’ve only played 48 games, I think, in this league. Just trying to keep working hard and keep going. Just come to the rink every day, work hard and good things will happen.”
When asked for his take on what it is that Strome could bring to the Blackhawks roster, general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement, “Obviously, with Dylan we have a need at center ice and he has that profile of being a dominant player at every level he’s been in. Even last season in the American League, to average over a point per game in the AHL is pretty impressive.”
In continuation, Bowman went on to say, “You look at all of our guys who have come through our system, to make it to Chicago, they weren’t able to do that at that age. He had a really good season last year, he just didn’t get a lot of NHL time. This year, he’s working his way up. I think in the minutes he’s had, he’s done pretty well. He wasn’t in a higher profile [spot], they’ve got a lot of good, young forwards in Arizona. I think sometimes it’s just a situational thing where guys might get a good opportunity here that they didn’t have elsewhere.”
When asked for his thoughts on what Perlini could bring to the team, Bowman said briefly, “Looking at Perlini last year, I thought he had a really strong season. 17 goals in the NHL for a second-year player is a pretty good start. The potential for him is to build on last year.”
As for Perlini’s take after having been told that he’d been dealt, he said in a statement to the Chicago Blackhawks media, “I like to play with the puck. I bring a lot of speed. Every time we played the Blackhawks, it seemed like they play kind of a puck possession game. For us, it was a different style in Arizona. Hopefully, I can utilize my speed a little bit better here and my skill set a little more. I’m excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
In conclusion, Perlini wrapped up his presser in saying, “It’s a new, fresh opportunity for me. You can tell in practice, there are great players and a lot of veteran guys who have done great things in the game. For me to come in, I just want to learn from them, improve and get better every day.”
Perlini is currently coming off of a 17-goal, 30-point sophomore season with the Coyotes and is viewed as another asset with good size, skates very well and has a decent shot as well.
As for Strome, he would wrap up his first media viewing as a member of the Blackhawks by saying, “Obviously, I want to be a little bit more productive. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. I want to put up numbers and help whatever team I’m on win. I want to come here and help this team win. I know I’m a Chicago Blackhawk now, I’m proud and I want to help the team win.”
Chicago head coach Jeremy Colliton was next to speak about the trade where he said with regards to the two boys joining his squad, “Fun to get them out there. Two young guys who both have a lot of potential, a lot of untapped potential. Get them in our group. I think it’s important not to have too many preconceived expectations. Let’s just let them play. But I think they improve our depth and can maybe increase the pace of our game, increase the tempo of our game by just having that depth. Looking forward to seeing them.”
Stan Bowman then wrapped up his final thoughts in saying about the deal, “We got two NHL players on our team for one. You have to give to get. We’re not going to get two players like that by not trading away a really good player.”
With last looks at this three-player deal in it’s entirety, bolstering the center crop with Strome allows the coaching staff some flexibility to try other players on the wing while also moving pieces around, something that both Strome and Perlini feel good about as they approach their new challenge head on for the first time this week.
Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton then gave his final input on the trade where he briefly concluded in saying, “I feel good about what they can bring.” This of course matches the opinion of general manager Stan Bowman who concluded as well in saying he feels the team is better today than they were before the trade, and the message to the locker room is simple.
To that regard, he brought it all to an end with his closing remarks when he said, “The message is we’re just trying to get better. We’re trying to make this a stronger group. We’re sitting here today with two players who I think strengthen our top-nine forwards.”