Revisiting the Chicago Blackhawks’ Strome for Schmaltz Swap

Chicago Blackhawks, Dylan Strome Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks, Dylan Strome Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

On this site you’ve read reasons to trade Dylan Strome and reasons to keep him, so today we’re going to be debating the merits of the Dylan Strome / Nick Schmaltz swap in November ‘18.  Did the Chicago Blackhawks make the right decision? How has Schmaltz been in Arizona? How has Strome been in Chicago? Let’s find out.

How has Schmaltz Been in Arizona?

As of the conclusion of this season, Schmaltz has been in AZ for about as long as he was on the Hawks roster. His counting stats have been… fine? He scored 25pts in 40 games the season the trade happened due to injury keeping him sidelined, followed it up with 45pts in 70 games in 19-20 before the pandemic halted the season, then had 32pts in 52 games this past year.

He plays about 16 minutes a game, with that having risen to 17 minutes this season, takes away more pucks than he gives up, and is dreadful at faceoffs. His 5v5 Corsi numbers are fine, but the catch is he almost exclusively starts in the offensive zone.  And remember – Schmaltz is getting paid a cap hit of $5.85 million until 25-26 to have those numbers. RNH puts up better numbers for less money.

How Has Strome been for the Blackhawks?

In Chicago, Strome got his first real NHL chance, and he has done quite well offensively. He’s a polarizing player, but few can do what he can do with the puck on his stick. His counting stats are better than Scmhaltz’s for the most part, with 106 total points in 156 games in Chicago.

After an explosive first year, Strome has seen his on-ice production dip, though.  For whatever reason, his leash at C was incredibly short when the Blackhawks had no real depth at the position last year. For example, Strome lost the job at C with a 46% faceoff clip to Suter’s 42%.

Strome’s Corsi numbers aren’t fantastic at 5v5, and he also gets the majority of his starts in the offensive zone. Still, it is fewer than Schmaltz has seen. Strome’s pts/60 and a1/60 were also excellent his first two years on the Blackhawks, but that had dipped last year too.

Did The Blackhawks Make the Right Decision?

So far, I think it’s safe to say that the Blackhawks made the right decision. Both players weren’t being given chances with the clubs that drafted them. Of course, the Blackhawks coaching staff is now not exactly giving Strome the chance to succeed here. However, we also have to remember that for the longest time Blackhawks fans wanted Schmaltz traded for being a “soft, perimeter” guy.

In all, both teams got quality players that had promise. While Dylan Strome has produced at a near point per game pace, that was over a 50 game sample and two years ago. He did follow that up with a good underlying numbers season, but both his on-ice and more analytics-focused stats were down this last year.

I don’t know if this trade will ever really have a winner. If I have to pick I’d put the Hawks ahead because of Strome’s first season and strong second showing (plus, getting Brandon Perlini was a good throw-in) means that offensive game should still be there.

"Blackhawks: Five options for the team’s goaltending in 2022-23"

However, I do know I wouldn’t pay Schmaltz almost $6 million to score at a 50-ish point pace if Strome is going to have similar, if not slightly better production and cost half as much.  Sound off in the comments and on social media to let us know what you think, did the Blackhawks make the right decision two years ago?