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Chicago Blackhawks: Nick Schmaltz Signing’s 5 Implications

By Sean Fitzgerald
Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward Nick Schmaltz (8) warms up prior to the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament against the Quinnipiac Bobcats at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward Nick Schmaltz (8) warms up prior to the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament against the Quinnipiac Bobcats at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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5 Implications Of The Chicago Blackhawks Signing Nick Schmaltz

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed their top prospect, Nick Schmaltz, to an entry-level contract. The news was first reported by ArizonaSports.com’s Craig Morgan. The contract will be for three years and the assumption is for the max entry-level deal ($925,000 per year). The signing comes at a perfect time for the Blackhawks, as they just traded away their top young forward in Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes.

With Schmaltz in the fold, here are five implications of the signing.

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1. Schmaltz could be become coach Joel Quenneville’s new Swiss army knife. Schmaltz is a versatile player who has a strong offensive game, but he also plays a responsible defensive game. At the University of North Dakota, he spent time on the penalty kill and the powerplay. Quenneville is going to need to replace his former Swiss army knife in Teravainen.

2. One of the Blackhawks’ long-standing prospects will not get a chance at the NHL level. With the loses of Teravainen and Andrew Ladd and potential losses of Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann, established prospects Ryan Hartman, Vincent Hinostroza, Mark McNeill, Tanner Kero and Kyle Baun were going to be in the mix to fill the holes. Now Schmaltz could take a spot away from a long-standing prospect.

3. Schmaltz could make Artem Anisimov expendable. Schmaltz played a center for the 2016 National Champion University of North Dakota squad. Schmaltz is a dynamic player with playmaking ability. Hockey’s Future states “Schmaltz is a talented two-way forward. He is an excellent playmaker with crisp passes and is adept at finding open seams.”

He could eventually find a home in between Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. The move also could let the Blackhawks leave Anisimov unprotected during the eventual expansion draft.

4. Luke Johnson and Schmaltz could start the season on the same line. Johnson and Schmaltz were teammates at the University of North Dakota, though not playing on the same line. Schmaltz was on the CBS line with Drake Caggiula and Brock Boeser. Johnson was on the heavy line with Rhett Gardner and Austin Poganski. If the Blackhawks want some instant chemistry, put the reigning national champions together.

Next: Teuvo Trade A Double-Edged Sword

5. Schmaltz will not spend any time at the AHL. If Schmaltz spends any time in the AHL, it will be shocking. Unlike Teravainen, Schmaltz has played hockey in North America his entire life. He does not need the adjustment period to the North American style of play. The expectation is that Schmaltz will take Teravainen’s spot on the NHL roster.

The Schmaltz signing effects the short- and long-term futures of the Blackhawks. Whether it will be for the positive or negative remains to be seen.

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