Will North Dakota Coaching Change Impact Chicago?

On Monday morning, the Philadelphia Flyers announced this that Dave Hakstol would be the 19th head coach in Flyers history.

Hakstol, 46, was the head coach at the University of North Dakota for the past 11 seasons, coaching some of the best players now in the NHL – including Jonathan Toews. Under Hakstol, UND teams put together an impressive 289-143-43 record.

He is the first NCAA coach to go directly to a head coaching job in the NHL since Herb Brooks left St. Cloud State to coach the North Stars in 1987.

In the wake of Hakstol leaving, North Dakota Director of Athletics Brian Faison announced that longtime UND assistant coach Brad Berry would take over as the head coach.

Faison taking over keeps some continuity behind the bench at UND, but the changes could have an impact on at least two Blackhawks prospects: Nick Schmaltz and Luke Johnson.

Schmaltz, the Hawks first round pick (20th overall) in 2014, finished his freshman season with five goals and 21 assists in 38 games. His 26 points ranked fourth on the team (third among UND forwards).

Johnson, a fifth round pick (134th overall) in 2013, finished fifth on the UND roster with 11 goals last season. He has posted 45 points in 84 games in his two seasons at UND.

Update: If either decides to turn pro because of the coaching change, the Blackhawks would continue to own their rights for two and three more years, respectively. According to the CBA, because both Johnson and Schmaltz went directly to UND after they were drafted “the drafting Club shall retain exclusive rights for the negotiation of his services until the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft.” Mike Reilly played one year in the BCHL before going to Minnesota, and is four years removed from his draft date.

Schmaltz’s older brother Jordan, a Blues prospect, posted 28 points for UND last season.

6 thoughts on “Will North Dakota Coaching Change Impact Chicago?

  • May 19, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    So is this like Kevin Hayes kinda then? These 2 guys might not want to wait for Kane to get injured again, so they will go as free agents and then get picked up by the Flyers?

    Sometimes I wonder why they trade away first round picks, but if this kinda thing keeps happening, I may understand more now.

  • May 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    re: kid – neither prospect has said they’re leaving UND, but the potential is always there when there’s a coaching change.

    That being said, if either did decide to turn pro it wouldn’t be the same as Kevin Hayes. Hayes stayed at Boston College for 4 full years, so the Hawks had 60 days to sign him after the end of his college career. The Hawks will be compensated for him signing elsewhere because he was a first round pick.

    There is nothing anywhere intimating either of these kids will bolt to sign w/ the Flyers; I never said anything about them going to the Flyers. This has more to do w/ the coaching change presenting the opportunity for them to go pro than them being so loyal to Hakstol that they follow him to Philly.

  • May 19, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Wait – either the statement about them being UFA after 30 days of leaving college is either wrong or my understanding of the CBA rule is wrong. As I understand it – Reilly can turn UFA after 30 days of leaving college because he is 4 years past his draft year (1 year in Jrs and 3 years in college). However, since Johnson (3 years) and Schmaltz (2 years) are not 4 years past their draft year – neither would be eligible to turn UFA this year – both would remain Hawks “property” until they meet the 4 year requirement.

  • May 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Two things and good insight Tab on how a coaching change at the college level could impact a lot of things for a team’s prospects …

    1). I think Ebony Raptor is right with his statements

    2). That the new coach will be the incumbent asst. coach speaks a lot to stability of the UND program. The Blackhawks player development staff has a pretty close relationship with the program so I don’t see much if any cause for worry.

  • May 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    On a higher level of analysis though, the Blackhawks have lately been all in on the approach of drafting kids heading to college and letting them develop there.

    Some of that approach is tested when these kids have more leverage after their junior year let alone their senior year. Look at Paliotta and look how they signed Hinostroza after only two years at Notre Dame. Personally I think Vinny is rushing things a little bit turning pro so soon and the Hawks have to use one of their 50 contracts to accommodate him. With Paliotta, he went all four years and had big time leverage because his last two years were top end.

    All of which means, there are risks with their strategy of taking so many college bound players. They know the risks – but I think you will see a subtle (or not so subtle) shift starting with this year’s draft. Maybe more Euro’s, maybe more kids from juniors which they’ve shied away from lately (jrs.).

  • May 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    re: college free agents –

    for Schmaltz/Johnson’s case(s) – they went directly to college w/out spending a year in a minor league. Therefore, the Blackhawks hold their rights.

    for Mike Reilly’s case – He played one year in the BCHL before going to Minnesota. Therefore, according to Article 8.6(c)(iv) in the CBA, the drafting club shall retain exclusive rights for the negotiation of a player’s services until the later of: (a) the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft, or (b) thirty (30) days after NHL Central Registry receives notice that the player is no longer a bona fide college student.

    Thanks for the clarification all.

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