by Gatekeeper and Pat Stankus
It's so easy to elicit such anger and teeth gnashing by just a simple title and, lets be honest, you're here because of the title. Walk with #TeamMiserable through the forest of reality for a little bit.
Fatrick - So here we are again, Gate. One highly touted prospect leaves, and less than a week later, another one enters. Unfortunately for much of the Blackhawks fan base, they haven’t learned their lesson. On Sunday afternoon news broke that the Hawks had signed 2014 1st round draft pick Nick Schmaltz. With that news, many of the meatballs emerged from their summer slumbers drooling at the news. I mean what’s not to get excited about? Schmaltz has an awesome collection of YouTube videos of him schooling other players of his size. Problem like is, in this day in age, everyone thinks their a scout. “Oh my God, look at this set up by Schmaltz. He’s gonna be a stud in the NHL.” Sorry to be a Debbie Downer folks, but one play doesn’t mean he’s going to light the NHL on fire.
Gatekeeper - The problem with the Nick Schmaltz hype is, just that. The hype. He played on one of the two best lines in college hockey (the other including Tyler Motte). His name was everywhere. He played on the national champion North Dakota Fighting Sioux...mething-or-others. He's a great prospect. But he's a prospect. He is at the level Teuvo Teravainen was 2 years ago, when I was told that he would immediately step in and be a 1/2 point per game player. Spoiler alert, he didn't do that. That is no knock on Teravainen either, because those were completely unrealistic expectations. I like Teuvo, but hold up on the fucking parades.
Fatrick - Precisely, Gate, haven’t we learned our lessons? Wasn’t Teuvo supposed to be “The Savior” of the franchise? How quickly did we learn that he wasn’t NHL ready when the Hawks brought him over? With open spots on the roster, you can pencil in Schmaltz on the Hawks roster. That’s fine. Problem is most people are going to expect this kid to light the NHL on fire, and sorry to say, it’s not going to happen. Not with the roll the Hawks are going to put him in. Earlier today Mark Lazerus tweeted out the potential line combinations for the upcoming. He like Gate and I have Schmaltz penciled in on the 3rd line. That’s great, hey you need to fill a roster. But this is the exact same route the Hawks took with Teuvo. If you’re going to develop him, then develop him correctly. Don’t force him into a roll he’s not accustomed with. Like Teuvo, I’m all for letting Schmaltz play in Rockford for a season. Have realistic expectations people. To think Schmaltz will be the next Patrick Kane right out of the gate is dumb. The Hawks didn’t have anything to lose when Kane was brought in. They had glaring holes to fill, and not to mention no one was paying attention or gave a rat’s ass about what the Hawks did back then.
Gatekeeper - Playing a year in Rockford might be the best thing for him but, with all the holes in the lineup, the team may not have a choice. Can we all just take a look back at some of the recent college players that were solid prospects in the Hawks system? Kyle Baun, Mike Paliotta, Steven Johns, Drew Leblanc, Tanner Kero, Vince Hinostroza to name a few. Some decent prospects there, but no one bringing in even 30 points in the NHL. Schmaltz maybe only be slightly better than this crew. The worst thing that could have happened, as far as expectation, was that Artemi Panarin ran through the league like his god damn hair was on fire, this past season. Panarin is 24. He is at least 3 years ahead of both Schmaltz and Teravainen. Three years of development, early in your career, is a long time.
Fatrick - Barring a trade of Corey Crawford, the Hawks are in a win now type mode. Throwing a highly touted prospect into the fire in a role he is not familiar with is a recipe for disaster. Again, ask Teuvo how that felt. There’s no rush to throw these guys into the lineup. This isn’t Edmonton. The Hawks are contenders. Eventually we’ll get back to a day where trotting out prospects is the route to go, but not now. Let the summer play itself out and see what happens at the draft, and free agency.
Gatekeeper - Too many people have assumed that Nick Schmaltz will step in and be a top 6 wing. That's not going to happen. It's just not. First of all, he's a natural Center and there is some guy named Jonathan Toews there. You might get some Andrew Shaw style filling in, when Q flips the switch on the line blender, but you're going to see Nick Schmaltz playing somewhere in the bottom 6. Playing in Teravainen's old spot, if he's lucky and has a good camp. If he struggles, you could see him get the Marko Dano experience (previously named the Teuvo Tower of Terror). Therre is nothing wrong with this. Be patient and pragmatic.
Fatrick - While we’re on this subject, let’s apply some of this same thinking towards Tyler Motte. Stop rushing these guys, and have some common sense when it comes to prospects. Not all of them are as good as their junior, collegiate, or minor league careers were. I mean Troy Brouwer was a world beater back in the days in Norfolk and Rockford. (#NowDerek , before the Hawks had an AHL affiliation with Rockford, they had one with Norfolk.) Temper your expectations people. We’ve got a long summer ahead of us, and still more questions than answers at this point. It will be an interesting couple of weeks coming up with the draft this week, and free agency the following.
Until next time, good night and don’t be a meathead.
In this ongoing series here at Puckin Hostile, we smack you in the face with a little bit of a #TruthBomb. Feel free to check out the previous reality checks in this series:
-Kyle Baun and Mike Paliotta Will Disappoint......Ahhh Nevermind
-Teuvo Teräväinen Will Disappoint You All
-Marcus Krüger will Disappoint You All
And the slight whiff of the group:
-Spies Like Us, Comrade (Artemi Panarin)
"Things You Oughta Know" Panarin, Tikhonov, and more