It is in no way controversial to say that the Arizona Coyote’s offense has been streaky this season. During the month of November they have been held to 2 or fewer goals in eight of eleven games. Clearly the team was in need of a shakeup, and John Chayka delivered that after a 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames by sending Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for center Nick Schmaltz.
This isn’t a move that should surprise fans of the team. Dylan Strome was clearly in a make or break season, and while he is much better compared to last season he still has a ways to go. Brendan Perlini has stretches of great speed and skill, but he disappears for games at a time.
In Nick Schmaltz the Coyotes get someone who finished 21-31-52 in 78 games last season, but has struggled this season only scoring 2-9-11 through 23 games. Part of that is to be expected, last season he had a 17.8 shooting percentage which is unsustainable long term.
General Manager John Chayka has been remaking the team in his image for a while and this move further distances the present-day Coyotes from the Don Maloney version, giving up some of former GM’s final first-round selections: Strome (3rd overall pick in the 2015 draft) and Perlini (12th overall pick in the 2014 draft). At this point the Coyotes only have three players they have drafted in the first round playing with the team, Clayton Keller, Jakob Chychrun, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Only the latter wasn’t drafted by Chayka.
While not surprising, this move may come back to bite the Coyotes. Dylan Strome has always shown potential and has found success at every level. While he shouldn’t have gone 3rd overall, he still has the pieces to be a successful hockey player. He may also be reunited with former Erie Otters winger Alex DeBrincat, who he tore up his final junior season with in 2016-17. Perlini is inconsistent, but did have flashes of speed and skill. Schmaltz has the better numbers, but most of that comes from one season and he seems likely to regress this season.
After a disappointing month the Coyotes needed a shakeup to hopefully right the ship before its too late. This move should send a message to players on the team, and could boost the offense. If the team doesn’t find success with this move the front office may need to make a bigger move.