The Arizona Coyotes don’t have a lot of offensive skill in the lineup this season, and they are going to have even less for the next several weeks. Nick Schmaltz has been ruled out for the next six to eight weeks according to Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports, after he suffered an injury in the team’s season-opening match against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Connor Timmins is also out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Schmaltz, 26, quietly had a very good season in Arizona last year, scoring 59 points in 63 games to finish second in team scoring behind Clayton Keller. That was a career-high on both accounts for the playmaking forward, who has been moved out of the center role and onto right wing. He managed to play just 2:26 before exiting, and now faces a long recovery timeline that will steal a good chunk of his season.
While the team isn’t trying to compete this season, it’s still not a great place to be in for either the Coyotes or Schmaltz. Like they’ve shown with the rest of their roster, the team is willing to trade anyone for the right price, and sitting on the sideline certainly won’t help Schmaltz’s market. With three more years remaining on his contract (after this one) he probably isn’t the top target for teams around the league, though if he was scoring at nearly a point-per-game again, he likely would have drawn some interest.
With their arena not yet ready to house them, the Coyotes are on a six-game road trip to start the year. After allowing 12 goals in their first two games (and 95 shots against, much to the chagrin of Karel Vejmelka), they now face the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, before heading to Montreal, Ottawa, and Columbus. They won’t play at home until October 28, and won’t have one of their best offensive pieces in the lineup for up to two months.
It’s going to be a long season in the desert.