The Arizona Coyotes are back in action tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils, but they’ll be without one of their talented young forwards. Nick Schmaltz has been moved to injured reserve today, and Craig Morgan of The Athletic tweets that the forward could be “out a while” with his lower-body injury. The team has recalled Laurent Dauphin in the meantime, and is listing Schmaltz as “week-to-week.”
Schmaltz has been a dynamic offensive presence since joining the Coyotes, showing just why they felt he was worth trading top prospect Dylan Strome away to the Chicago Blackhawks. With 14 points in 17 games since switching clubs, the 22-year old has already climbed ahead of full-time players like Nick Cousins, Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse. That’s exactly what the Coyotes needed, and what they’ll sorely miss with him on the sideline.
Arizona has scored just 101 goals on the season, and in a year that they were hoping to take a substantial step forward are now just 17-21-2. Without a big turnaround the team is destined to miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, something that eventually will force upper management to take a close look at who is steering the ship. The development simply hasn’t been there from some of the team’s key young players, something that has been magnified given their long list of injuries. Schmaltz’ absence will give an opportunity for someone else, but they’d certainly rather have him on the ice.