Coyotes’ Schmaltz Becoming Likely Trade Candidate

The 2022-23 NHL Trade Deadline concludes this Friday, March 3rd at 3:00 PM, and the trade frenzy is underway around the league. Timo Meier, Ivan Barbashev, Denis Gurianov, Ryan O’Reilly, and a slew of other players have already changed addresses, and plenty of others are yet to come, like Patrick Kane. The Arizona Coyotes, who have yet to make significant moves, have quite the list of intriguing names to throw on the table, including Jakob Chychrun, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Ritchie, and either Karel Vejmelka or Connor Ingram.

Nick Schmaltz Arizona Coyotes
Nick Schmaltz, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Another name to throw on that list whose name has been heating up in trade rumors for the past few weeks is forward Nick Schmaltz. He’s been one of the club’s most underrated players and is steadily becoming a point-per-game player. With 39 points in 43 games this season on 17 goals and 22 assists, the Coyotes forward is on track to set a new career high in points and goals.

Why Move Him?

The Coyotes could capitalize off the stellar season Schmaltz is currently having and use that as trade bait to potentially speed up the organization’s current rebuild. At 27 years of age, he doesn’t fit the team’s current core, as he’ll be 30 years old by the time the Coyotes are playing competitive and meaningful hockey. This factor poses the case for general manager Bill Armstrong to pull the trigger now if there is a deal in place while he’s on a roll. The potential return would be fairly appealing and would help Arizona amass draft picks ahead of this season’s and future drafts.

Related: Coyotes 2022 Player Reviews: Keller, Gostisbehere, & Schmaltz

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In his past five seasons with the Coyotes, he’s amassed 189 points in 245 games on 66 goals and 123 assists, including two, potentially three four points seasons if he records one more point. His recent hot play hasn’t always been the case for the Coyotes though. Two seasons ago, he recorded just 10 goals in 52 games, struggling to stay consistent for parts of the year. Questions arose on his ability to be a consistent top-six forward that could produce, leading many to believe the Coyotes had a middle-of-the-pack player that would never live up to the hype after originally being selected 20th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014. He’s since then turned into one of the league’s top right-wingers.

What Could The Coyotes Get In Return?

While Armstrong has no obligations to move Schmaltz as he has developed chemistry with forward Clayton Keller since being traded for during the 2018-19 season, he currently doesn’t fall into the team’s future plans going forward. This leads to the option of the Coyotes moving him for draft capital while they can gain a big return. While losing such a dynamic player would be a huge loss for not only Keller but the organization and the fans, it’s a necessary move for a team going through a rebuild that’s trying to build a young core.

The current future of the Coyotes remains bright with young and upcoming talent waiting in the pipeline. Arizona remains hard at work building and growing its core. The return expected for guys such as Chychrun and Gostisbehere is expected to be a potential haul, loaded with first and second-round picks. If you add Schmaltz to the team’s trade list, the possible return could be anywhere from a first to late second-round pick. Some teams will certainly be calling, with the Carolina Hurricanes rumored to be interested, as they try to bolster their already deep roster for hopefully a Stanley Cup run.

Nick Schmaltz Arizona Coyotes
Nick Schmaltz, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Whatever happens at the end of the day, is what’s best for the Coyotes. The team is eager to build a contender, and one way to do that is through the draft. Whether the team moves Schmaltz or not remains to be seen, but his days in a kachina sweater look to be numbered ahead of Friday’s deadline.

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