2014 – Nick Schmaltz – 20th Overall
Nick Schmaltz might not be a Chicago Blackhawk anymore, but he was a great draft pick by the team. Chicago went out and added a talented center that could become a potential number two for years to come.
Very rarely do we see late-round draft picks jump into the NHL that quickly, but I would argue that Schmaltz playing just a few seasons later by 2016-17 was pretty good. The 20-year-old managed to play 61 games in his first season, and he put up 28 points.
Schmaltz was not perfect with the Blackhawks though. He did struggle when it came to shooting the puck, but most players his age at the time do. When you have someone like Patrick Kane on your line, why wouldn’t you pass to him when it came time for a goal?
One thing that I think is worth mentioning when Nick Schmaltz is mentioned, is the role Patrick Kane started to play with these young players. Guys like Schmaltz, Hinostroza, and Hartman grew up watching Patrick Kane light the lamp at the NHL level for years. All of a sudden they were dropped into a team with the star player in Kane.
He spent time during the offseason working with them, and I think he was the first Blackhawk to realize how important the young guys were to the team’s success. Obviously now Chicago does not have any of those guys left, but Kane was the first to really show an interest in the next group of Blackhawks.
Without that interest, and Kane helping to elevate their games we would never have gotten players like Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat through trades.