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2014 NHL Draft Profile #24: Nick Schmaltz

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Nick Schmaltz put up 18 goals and 63 points in 55 games for the the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL.  Its an impressive follow-up on his solid rookie season last year, when he led all USHL 1996-born players with 52 points. Unfortunately Schmaltz and the Gamblers would fall 3-1 in their first round playoff series.

Nick Schmaltz is the younger brother of former St. Louis Blues first round draft pick Jordan Schmaltz. Nick Schmaltz has a ton of international experience first playing for the USA as a 16 year old at the Youth Olympics. He was also impressive in the summer Ivan Hlinka tournament when he put up eight points in five games for the American team. Schmaltz also played for the US Team at the World “Junior A” Championships and won a gold medal this past November, putting up four goals and 12 points in just eight games. Nick Schmaltz is committed to the University of North Dakota for next season, following in his brother’s footsteps.  He was also drafted by the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL should he decide to go the CHL route.

Nick Schmaltz

Centre — Right
Born Feb 23 1996 — Verona, WI
Height 6.00 — Weight 172 [183 cm/78 kg]

Nick Schmaltz’s best assets are his hockey sense and ability to read the play. He seems to be one step ahead of other players on this ice. Couple this with with his great vision and playmaking skills in the offensive zone and it is easy to see how he has become an elite playmaker at the junior level in the USHL.  He is very hard to knock off the puck and controls the game in the cycle waiting for teammates to get open and thread those great passes onto their tape.  His quick hands and good stickhandling ability also help him to protect the puck and control the game on his stick. Schmaltz is also willing to take the puck to the net himself if he sees an opening, but is much more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. He’s not afraid to fight for pucks along the boards and to play in traffic, but would benefit from adding more muscle to his frame. Schmaltz has a very good wrist shot, and one-timer, but he just doesn’t use these assets enough.

Schmaltz is a strong skater, who has a very good first step and excellent acceleration. He could stand to be a little bit better in his top end speed though, it is above average, but could improve with a lengthening of his stride. He has very good lateral agility and edge work and this makes him extremely elusive. Schmaltz has good balance and as mentioned is difficult to knock off the puck.

Schmaltz defensive game shows real flashes, but is inconsistent. At his best he is a committed backchecker, gets in lanes, and plays a strong game in his own end. However there are times when you can see he is thinking the game well and anticipating what he needs to do, but just simply isn’t moving his feet enough, which can cause him to be flat footed and lose his assignments. This is something that should come with time and good coaching.

Schmaltz has the offensive skills to be a very effective second line centre in the NHL. He can be an effective playmaker, and if he ever learns how to keep the defense honest by utilizing his shot more could be extremely effective. A style, but obviously not talent comparison for Nick Schmaltz would be Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals.

Here are some highlights of Nick Schmaltz in action.

Check back tomorrow for my number 25 ranked prospect.


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