Looking to add some offensive punch into their lineup, the Chicago Blackhawks made a roster move on Saturday afternoon as they recalled forward Nick Schmaltz from the Rockford IceHogs.
Schmaltz, who was sent down earlier this season after spending 26 games with the Blackhawks, has been lighting up the AHL with six goals in 12 games with the IceHogs.
He was on a four-game point streak for Rockford before his promotion, and he’ll be looked to as an offensive catalyst as he’ll be in the lineup for Sunday’s game vs. the Minnesota Wild.
To put things simply, Schmaltz’s arrival could not have come at a better time for Chicago. With Artem Anisimov under the weather (but still playing on Sunday), the Blackhawks may have to get slightly creative with their line combinations, and Schmaltz will allow them to do that.
The expectation is that he will play as a center among the bottom six forwards, but he could get pushed back to the top on occasion as the Blackhawks play a very fast and very talented Wild squad.
One of the big criticisms of Schmaltz’s play during his first stint with the Blackhawks was his unwillingness to shoot the puck. In his final five games, Schmaltz only totaled three shots on goal, and he only had 16 total in 26 games with the Blackhawks.
Needless to say, Schmaltz played with a lot more assertiveness in Rockford, scoring six times in 12 games and giving the Blackhawks all the incentive they needed to bring him back up. Add in the fact that the team just got done with a 6-0 pasting at the hands of the Washington Capitals, and head coach Joel Quenneville had no choice but to give the talented rookie another shot.