Zawaski: Blackhawks’ First-Round Draft Pick Gets Mixed Reviews In Scouting Reports

(CBS) — The trade everyone was expecting the Blackhawks to make at the draft finally happened — sort of.

News of a trade between the San Jose Sharks and Chicago had everyone on edge. When Gary Bettman took the podium and announced the trade, it was a bit of a letdown. The Hawks surrendered their 27th and 62nd picks to the Sharks for their 20th and 179th picks. With pick 20, Chicago selected Green Bay Gamblers’ centerman Nick Schmaltz.

In 55 games with Green Bay last season, Schmaltz scored 18 goals with 45 assists.

Let’s take a look some scouting reports on Schmaltz.


Nick’s skill level is truly elite. He does everything at top speed, and his top speed is every bit as fast
as anyone in this draft, if not faster. He is extremely agile, can shift and change directions on a
dime, and none of these feats are slowed or hindered when he has a puck on his stick. He keeps
defenders off balance and trying to guess or anticipate what he is going to do with the puck, and
with his vision, intelligence, playmaking ability, and elite shot, it’s simply impossible to do that. 

On the defensive side of the puck he also excels; when he wants to. He causes a lot of turnovers
with his quickness and positioning and ability to sneak up on opposing puck carriers. He doesn’t
shy away from the physical game and will finish checks and stay on assignments. He can get lazy and lackadaisical with the puck in his own end, and often times it’s lead to turnovers and the puck winding up in the back of his own net. His International play is dominant, so it goes to show how much more he could be capable of at this level if that effort level was always there.

More from’s Sean White:

“A bit high-risk/high-reward. One of the most talented players in the draft but doesn’t always give the effort. Can look like he doesn’t care, especially defensively. Conversely, all the offensive skill and instincts in the world. Similar player as Kane but not quite the vision and instincts. Will need time to develop. Would’ve very likely been there at 27. Trading up to get him is a little puzzling. Definite top-six offensive talent, but a bit of a project.”

TSN’s Director of Scouting, Craig Button:

Nick has elite skill. His skating is excellent and it appears as if he’s gliding past opponents. Exceptional agility and he’s capable of beating opponents quickly in tight areas. Excellent puck skills and he can make plays that create outstanding offensive opportunities. Good shot and combined with his playmaking, keeps defenders off balance. Very smart and poised and can hold puck to allow plays to develop. Top line type.

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