After taking a few days to digest the Nick Schmaltz for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini trade, Five for Howling and Second City Hockey would like to provide a question-and-answer session for the fans of both teams. I asked Carl Pavlock, one of the Five for Howling Editorial Contributors, a handful of questions about the deal GMs Stan Bowman and John Chayka negotiated Sunday night.
A real quick background on Chayka:
- High level Junior A player. Career cut short by back injury.
- Co-Founder of Stathletes in 2010 - Deep dive hockey analytics and video analysis platform.
- Hired in 2015 to be Assistant GM and a member of Hockey Analytics group.
- Promoted to GM in 2016 at 27 years old - Youngest GM in NHL history and all 4 major North American sports (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA).
The questions and responses are below:
1. Why do you think the Hawks and Coyotes are such frequent trade partners?
Chayka and Bowman definitely are working a lot lately aren’t they? At the end of the day I think it’s because it’s been beneficial for both teams. The Coyotes needed a veteran defenseman and they wanted to make Oliver Ekman-Larsson happy before they re-signed him so they went after Niklas Hjalmarsson. Chicago needed to get rid of the Marian Hossa contract and that’s a classic Chayka acquisition. This trade is three players that have all been described as inconsistent so everyone gets a change of scenery.
2. How was Strome deployed this season?
Strome’s use has been pretty inconsistent. He would get second unit power play time but he would play 5 on 5 on the fourth line. Head coach, Rick Tocchet would occasionally play him with some skilled players but that was pretty rare. He mostly played as a center but occasionally played on the wing. Strome’s face-off numbers took a huge leap this season and he would get some of the key draws late in the game.
3. How was Perlini deployed this season?
If Perlini was having a good game he would get the good ice time, if it was an off night he didn’t really get that much. He played on the second unit power play and was pretty successful despite the Coyotes power play being just terrible this season. Tocchet’s lines are pretty inconsistent but I think in general you could fairly describe him as a fourth line player that would occasionally jump up to the third or second.
4. Who has higher upside, Strome or Perlini?
Definitely Strome. Perlini is a good skater and a good shot and has the potential to be a 20 goal player but he is invisible for significant stretches. Strome on the other hand doesn’t have the same NHL success and isn’t as flashy but he is a good hockey player with crazy high hockey IQ. His skating is a weakness but he continues to improve year after year. Strome definitely shouldn’t have gone third overall, but you can’t fault him for that, but he is a good hockey player that still has a chance at being great.
5. What is a memorable moment for Strome?
Dylan Strome netted the first Coyotes goal of the season after the team was shut out their first two games. A solid goal that seemed to be a sign that Strome was ready to make the next step this season and find his place with the team. That didn’t end up happening but it definitely felt like it would in the moment.
6. What is a memorable moment for Perlini?
This moment was pretty memorable. Perlini has spent some time going back and forth between Arizona and the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL. He came into game hot off a hat trick with the Roadrunners and scored this beauty to tie the game. When Perlini is on his game he does stuff like this, unfortunately he wasn’t doing it enough for the team.
7. How would you grade the trade for the Coyotes?
It’s really tough because I don’t think the full impact is going to be known for a few years, more than most trades. After a successful AHL season the team never really seemed sold on Strome. The Coyotes went out and acquired Alex Galchenyuk from the Canadiens and re-signed Christian Dvorak for six years. With Dvorak missing the start of the season with injury it wasn’t an issue, but the team didn’t really have a plan for Strome when he got back and it felt like he was going to be traded no matter what. Perlini is streaky and will disappear for stretches but when he turns it on he can be a difference maker. The Coyotes have given the players time to develop, but the Coyotes seemed to think that they still aren’t there yet and if they waited much longer their stock would fall to nothing. Honestly, the fact that it took two players to get back one in a way shows that were probably right to cut bait when they did.
Nick Schmaltz looked good in his initial game with the team, and hopefully he will develop that consistency as he grows with the team. An early change of scenery can definitely send a wake up call to a young player who is inconsistent and the team is really hoping that Schmaltz can do that. End of the day I probably give this trade a B for us, only because I think we could have gotten more back. On the other hand Schmaltz had a power play goal against the Nashville Predators and an assist on the game-winning goal, if that’s a sign of things to come I will definitely be regrading this one.