Its a bird, its a plane, its nick schmaltz
By: Jordan M
My favorite phenomena to witness each season is a toss-up between a rookie taking the league by storm or a player finally finding his confidence for a breakout season. It warms my heart to watch a player score his first NHL goal just as much as it makes me smile to see a veteran player “Wow” an arena full of doubtful fans. One player who I believe deserves the spotlight right now is Nick Schmaltz.
Nick started his hockey career at a young age which led him to play in high school and then at the University of North Dakota. It was no secret that professional teams saw his potential when he went 20th overall in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Nick spent his first professional season with the Rockford IceHogs before being called up to the National Hockey League. That first season with the Blackhawks was nothing short of amazing. Schmaltz proved his grit and determination while playing on the ice with players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. That being said, his next season he was good but not great. Coaches and fans expected him to continue to prove his worth but were fairly disappointed with the output they received. Nick was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in November of 2018 where he has remained since. Nick has been hit or miss for the Arizona Coyotes as well. In his defense, he has been plagued with a few injuries that have stalled the young player from performing the way he would like to. However, he has become a core player that the Coyotes have shaped their rebuild around and coaches have remained confident in his talent. (Spoiler: This season it finally paid off.)
If you’ve watched any NHL broadcasts or paid the slightest bit of attention to news around the league recently you have most definitely heard Nick’s name. Schmaltz started off slow with a mere 5 goals in 24 games. Fast forward to now and the kid is buzzin with 10 goals and 13 assists in his last eleven games. He is currently on a seven game point streak and I don’t see him slowing down any time soon. This includes his record breaking game against the Ottawa Senators where Nick had a seven point night which hadn’t been done in a decade. Clayton Keller is currently the team’s top goal scorer but I wouldn’t count Nick out on catching up. Nick has found his offensive game again and the confidence shows each time he steps out on the ice. The Arizona Coyotes desperately need leaders to guide the current team of misfits and rookies and all eyes are pointing to Nick right now. I’m one proud fan (that’s right, a Coyotes fan!) and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Number 8.