Nick Schmaltz Emerging As A Top Rookie

This season, all of the rookie of the year conversation around the NHL has rightfully been centered around Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine. The top two picks in the 2016 NHL Draft have been terrific all season, and are worthy of battling for this year’s Calder Memorial Trophy.

But since he was recalled in mid-January, Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz has been among the best first year players in the league.

Since Jan. 17, Schmaltz has 15 points in 17 games. He trails only Laine (19 points in 14 games), Matthews (18 in 22) and Toronto’s William Nylander (16 in 22) in production. Among rookies with at least 10 games played since Jan. 17, Schmaltz’s 0.88 points per game trails only Laine (1.36).

Impressively, all 15 of his points have come at even strength, which trails only Laine over that time frame as well.

But Schmaltz has stayed on the Hawks’ top line since being recalled because of his all around game.

He ranks third among rookies with 15 takeaways since Jan. 17, trailing only Matthews and Nylander. His SAT percentage is 53.90 which ranks 17th in the league among rookies with at least 10 games played since Jan. 17; Ryan Hartman (54.81) is one of the 16 skaters ahead of Schmaltz. Schmaltz also ranks second in 5-on-5 shooting percentage (15.9 percent) behind, once again, Laine (16.0).

Whenever you have a young player making this kind of impact it helps a team win games. Coupled with superstars like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane catching fire at the same time, it can make a team damn near unbeatable. And since Jan. 17, that’s exactly what the Hawks have done: win games. Chicago has a 13-4-0 record in the last 17 games with Schmaltz in the lineup.

8 thoughts on “Nick Schmaltz Emerging As A Top Rookie

  1. Will Schnaltz play tonite vs Preds ? And what caused him to miss last nite vs NYI ?

  2. Hope he can continue in the playoff ….we will need him to stay on first line with Toews …

  3. Schmaltz was ill. Thursday he was a maybe to play yesterday. So it looks like whatever it was got worse. Hopefullyit’s what Crawford had and not what Minnesota is dealing with.

  4. Number 8 has been a pleasure to watch ,he is becoming a slick play maker .
    Kaner had a big ol shit eating grin on his face after Schmaltz fed him that beauty pass the other night .

    Keep up the good work boys !

  5. That grin was the reminds me of that pass and shot by 19 and 88 against LA and the pass and shot by 91 and 88 against TAM similar looking pass/shots.

  6. Schmaltz has played very well and shown he can be a top-6 player on a contending team – no small feat considering the contending team is coached by Q who demands a 200′ game, not just offensive production.

    I hope this illness that has kept him out of the lineup is not something where he loses weight/strength. He’s played 44 games for the Hawks (and another 12 in Rockford) which is by far more games than he is used to playing in the NCAA. This is probably about the time many rookies hit the rookie wall. Let’s hope the time off recharges him rather than the illness depletes him.

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