The 2015 NHL Draft lottery changed the fates of the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres when those teams were awarded the picks that turned into Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. The Arizona Coyotes also saw their fate changed when Edmonton won McDavid by moving from three to one. Arizona dropped from second to third overall, losing the right to draft Eichel and instead getting their pick of the third tier in the famous 2015 draft.
Their selection? Dylan Strome from OHL Erie. While McDavid and Eichel captain their respective teams, Strome’s Coyote career is now over after just 48 NHL games across three seasons. He leaves Arizona with just 16 career points under his belt and an underwhelming performance after being a key pick in Arizona’s rebuilding efforts.
Strome, along with another young forward in Brendan Perlini, was dealt to Chicago late last night in exchange for center Nick Schmaltz. It’s a moved designed to get three young players not living up to the hype to kick-start their careers, and a move designed to fill holes on each of the two teams involved.
The Arizona POV:
For Arizona, it is a chance to acquire another top-six center, a hole that has plagued them for what seems like ever. Schmaltz might not be a difference-maker just yet, but he did record 52 points a season ago while lighting the lamp 21 times.
I don’t think it is crazy to suggest that Schmaltz could be a strong second line center moving forward who brings enough offense while also providing size and speed. In a big and tough Pacific Division, Schmaltz brings a lot of the qualities that the California teams have thrived off of in previous years.
No, he’s not a power-forward by any means, but he’s tough to push off the puck and can handle the physical rigors of the NHL no problem. Although he posted just eleven points early this season, Schmaltz is coming off of a career year in which he established himself as a top-six option on a bad Chicago team.
I think the Blackhawks are giving up on this player far too early, as he’s already established himself more than both of the players coming back via trade. I like this deal for Arizona, because even though they are cashing in potential for a more established option they are still getting a young player in return.
The Coyotes, in my mind, added another top-six forward on Sunday night in exchange for two ‘maybes’. I like this deal from their perspective and think they are better this morning than they were following their 6-1 loss to Calgary yesterday afternoon.
The Chicago POV:
Bob McKenzie said it best via Twitter last night:
CHI is banking on a few things in this trade with ARI: 1. Strome will be able to play 2nd line centre behind Toews. 2. Strome and DeBrincat may be able to re-create OHL chemistry in NHL. 3. Improved depth, getting two skilled forwards (Strome and Perlini) for one (Schmaltz).
The Hawks simply don’t have the depth needed to compete right now, and they are willing to sacrifice one good player to acquire what they feel is two more. While I understand the logic, there is a lot of risk there and it could backfire in a big way.
Strome has not established himself as a strong offensive player in the NHL, and I understand the disappointment that Arizona had with him. Missing on that pick is a fatal mistake by that team considering the talent on the board at that time. I still believe, however, that Strome is an NHL caliber player and that he can be a fine middle-six center.
Strome is extremely smart and has decent offensive chops. His problem? He’s really never been given a prime spot and allowed to run with it. His speed is also an issue, and that can be killer in today’s game. However, it looks like Chicago is committed to giving Strome a real shot in the top-six and I think this trade could be the best thing that has happened to him in his pro career.
Perlini has just six points this season (2-4-6) and has disappointed a bit since being the 12th overall pick in 2014. He had just 30 points in 74 games a season ago, which was a career year for him after posting 21 points in 57 games a rookie in 2016-17. He’s got potential, however, and could click in a bigger role with the Hawks.
I understand Chicago’s thought process here, but they are taking on a big risk to try to fill the spots behind Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat on their forward depth chart.
Jeff Shewan Flickr/C.C 2.0