Will Chicago Blackhawks’ Nick Schmaltz Earn A Dylan Larkin Level Contract?

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 06: Nick Schmaltz
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 06: Nick Schmaltz /
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Schamltz Versus Larkin Statistically

Without factoring in any statistics, Larkin and Schmaltz play a very similar role as far as what they mean to their respective teams. Each look to permanently take over as the top center and could be eligible for a legitimate leadership role in the not-so-distant-future. However, in order to determine whether or not Schmaltz could earn Larkin-level money, we must analyze the situation further.

Larkin Rookie Year

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    • Games: 80
    • Goals: 23
    • Assists: 22
    • Points: 45
    • +/- +11
    • S%: 10.4
    • ATOI: 16:33
    • FO%: 41.0

    Schmaltz Rookie Year

    • Games: 61
    • Goals: 6
    • Assists: 22
    • Points: 28
    • +/- +10
    • S%: 9.1
    • ATOI: 13:16
    • FO%: 30.9

    At first glance, Larkin’s rookie year season looks exceptionally better than Schmaltz’s. Considering Dylan was just 19, it’s undeniably impressive.

    The knock on Schmaltz after his rookie year was that he didn’t shoot enough and would pass out of grade-A scoring chances. Given this issue and the fact that Larkin played nineteen more games than Schmaltz did, it’s no surprise that Larkin’s goal total was significantly higher than Schmaltz.

    However, in nineteen less games, Schmaltz still totaled the same amount of assists; a testament to his playmaking ability.

    In their second seasons, Schmaltz really began to shine (especially in comparison to Larkin).

    Larkin Second Season

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    • Games: 80
    • Goals: 17
    • Assists:  15
    • Points: 32
    • +/- -28
    • S%: 9.6
    • ATOI: 19:09
    • FO%:  45.4

    Schmaltz Second Season:

    • Games: 78
    • Goals: 21
    • Assists: 31
    • Points: 52
    • +/- 1
    • S%: 17.8
    • ATOI: 18:14
    • FO%: 40.1

    Larkin’s sophomore slump didn’t do him any favors, but it’s hard to deny how much Schmaltz improved in his second stint. It’s also important to note this was his first full season with the Blackhawks.

    He made positive strides in every category. With significantly more ice time, he rose to the challenge and produced in a major way for Chicago. Nick tied for second in team points.

    Most impressive, though, is how much he improved in goal scoring. It’s one thing to identify a problem within your own game, but for Schmaltz’s total to be that much different after just one season is huge.

    Does Schmaltz Deserve Larkin Money? 

    Well, it’s undeniably a complicated question. This summer was a big one for free agents as quite a few guys took pay raises in comparison to years past. As the salary cap continues to rise, the same thing happening next summer wouldn’t be unsurprising.

    Additionally, although Schmaltz took a few big steps during his second season, Larkin still has one additional year of experience under his belt. Though he struggled during his second season, his performance in his third is what earned him the price tag on his new contract.

    Playing in all 82 games, Larkin totaled 63 points on 16 goals and 47 assists. Though his goal total still hasn’t reached its rookie-year peak, he’s found other ways to be productive. Furthermore, he increased his hits and blocks at even strength; both good qualities to have as a top center.

    So, although Schmaltz’s second season outperformed Larkin’s, his contract rides heavily on what he’s able to do in this coming year. The Blackhawks are purposefully saving cap space to secure DeBrincat and Schmaltz long-term, as GM Stan Bowman has made clear.

    Next. Chicago Blackhawks Prospect update: Mikael Hakkarainen. dark

    If Nick plays is able to produce at the same level (or better) that he did in his second season, it’s safe to say he could earn as much as 6$ million a year.