INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 21: Nick Schmaltz of USA looks dejected after losing the men's bronze medal match between Canada and USA in the Ice Hockey at the Tyrolean Ice Arena during the Winter Youth Olympic Game on January 21, 2012 in Innsbruck, Austria. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
As the NHL Entry Draft approaches in Philadelphia, Madhouse Enforcer is giving fans a glimpse into what the Chicago Blackhawks could be preparing to do with the 27th overall pick when things get underway on Friday night.
With that in mind, we’re going to be looking at five different players that the Hawks could potentially select in that spot, and we’ll get things started with American born center Nick Schmaltz.
Schmaltz, born in Madison, Wisconsin, is a gifted playmaker whose ice vision and ability to read the development of plays has been praised by scouts and draft experts alike. During his two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, Schmaltz has racked up 36 goals and 79 assists in 119 games, and he’s helped lead the team to two straight playoff appearances.
Schmaltz also has a bit of a Chicago connection as well, playing Bantam and Midget hockey with the Chicago Mission. During the 2011-12 season, Schmaltz played 12 games with the under-16 team, scoring nine goals and dishing out 11 assists in those contests.
Why He Might be a Fit:
The Blackhawks have gone forward in the first round of the draft in five of the last six seasons, with only Dylan Olsen in 2009 serving as an exception to that rule. Guys like Ryan Hartman and Phillip Danault do show that the Hawks are willing to go with wingers with their picks, but centers like Schmaltz that are capable of moving the puck and creating offense are always en vogue in Joel Quenneville’s system.
If the Blackhawks were to draft Schmaltz, he would obviously become a project player like Hartman. He has already committed to going to the University of North Dakota (the same school that Jonathan Toews attended when he was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2006), so odds are that he wouldn’t see the ice in Rockford or Chicago for several years at least.
Even still, Schmaltz is on a lot of radars heading into the draft, and if he ends up being available in the 27th slot (most mock drafts have him going in the last 10 picks or so of the first round, but there’s no consensus on where he’d end up), the Blackhawks could have a great player on their hands if Bowman pulls the trigger on the pick.