A three-point night for Nick Schmaltz, which included a nifty pass to Jonathan Toews for the game-winner, must have Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman wondering how to approach the trade deadline.
The way the 20-year-old rookie has been playing, does Bowman really need to add a first-line left winger before next Wednesday?
It’s a valid question. Only a month ago, Bowman was reportedly sniffing around the likes of Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
But Schmaltz has since caught fire, with two goals and five assists in his last six games. The rookie from Wisconsin had one goal and two assists in Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over Minnesota.
“He’s been really good,” head coach Joel Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “[Tuesday] was the most we’ve ever seen him with the puck. I don’t know how many times he evaded coverage, and all of a sudden he loses the guy on him and a play develops. That play against the grain to [Toews] was spectacular.”
Toews, of course, has been through a whole host of linemates this season, and only in the last month has the captain really started to produce offensively. Richard Panik and Marian Hossa are two veteran options to skate on his right side, but the left side has been a running audition.
Schmaltz, a first-round draft pick in 2014, only got called back up to the NHL in mid-January.
One month later, Toews is liking the chemistry that’s developed between himself, Schmaltz and Panik.
“We’ve been given the chance to spend a few games together, get some consistency, get some feel and some confidence,” said Toews. “The biggest thing for the three of us is if we go through a game without scoring, we’re given a chance to go out in the next game and try and redeem ourselves and contribute offensively.
“It’s a lot of fun, because I think we’re feeling it. [Schmaltz and Panik] are playing so well at both ends of the rink. They’re playing with a ton of confidence with the puck.”
The ‘Hawks have two games left before the March 1 deadline. They host Arizona tomorrow and St. Louis Sunday.