The NHL releases three stars of every week and this week it happened to consist of two “unlikely” names per say. The first star was Jordan Binnington the rookie sensation in St. Louis who has surged the St. Louis Blues to a seven-game win streak and a wild card spot. Star number three was Dylan Strome the Chicago Blackhawks center, who was sent to Chicago from Arizona for Nick Schmaltz.
Binnington earns 1st star of the week
The reason this is being reported is because it is awesome news for these two guys. First off Jordan Binnington was drafted in 2011 3rd round, 87th overall never made his way up the NHL ladder and from 2011-2018 until he was called up he spent all of his time (besides one year when he played in ECHL for the Kalamazoo in 2013-14) in the AHL, emerging as a starter in 2014-15 in the AHL and at 26-years-old Binnington finally got his shot in the NHL this season when the Blues needed some resurgence at the goaltending spot.
Binnington has started in 11 games this season with a record of 9-1-1, a 1.77 goals against (GAA), .929 save percentage and 2 shutouts in his time so far. In his last five games he has five wins, most notable win coming in shutout fashion vs the best team in the NHL (Tampa Bay), allowing seven goals in those five games. All the talk about Carter Hart and his resurrection of Philadelphia is over shadowing what this kid Binnington has done for the Blues.
Strome earns third star of the week
Dylan Strome another young player who has had his fair share of difficult stretches finally gets a chance in Chicago and has been lights out since coming to Chicago. It doesn’t hurt playing the power play with Patrick Kane and some 5 on 5 time with Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex Debrincat, nevertheless Strome has been a major reason the Blackhawks are back in playoff contention. Since his arrival to Chicago Strome has recorded 11 goals and 19 assists, 30 points in 32 games. During his 32 games in Chicago the longest Strome has gone without a point has been three-games so far. The kid has been on fire and earned himself third star of the week (this week) recording 2 goals and 5 assists in three games.
Strome was drafted in 2015 1st round 3rd overall by the Coyotes after playing the 2015-16 season in the OHL recording 111 points in 56 games (37G, 74A) Strome headed to the NHL in 2016-17 where he only played seven games. In 2017-18 he played 50 games in the AHL and 21 games in the NHL recording 9 points that year. At the start of this season the Coyotes expected him to be a number two, borderline number three center, Strome played 20 games with Arizona recording 6 points and -10 rating before being shipped out to Chicago. The Coyotes essentially gave up on Strome after just 48 games. They did receive Nick Schmaltz in return but it was still a very questionable decision by Arizona and Strome is surely making them regret it now as he continues to roll in Chicago.
Auston Matthews is returning to the lineup for the first time since October 27th. Matthews missed 14 games with a shoulder injury. Before the injury Matthews was off to an unreal start with 10 goals and 6 assists in 11 games. He was a near point per game player and was looking to be a favorite for the Rocket Richard trophy. Since Matthews exit, the Leafs have not struggled which is surprising but the Leafs managed an 11-3 record in the 14 games Matthews missed. The Leafs Mitch Marner really picked up the slack with Matthews gone. This absence of Matthews and the Leafs still managing to be the best team in the league plus a no William Nylander also it goes to show how dominant this Leafs team is going to be come the postseason.
Dylan Strome managed to score in his first game with the Blackhawks it took the 21-year-old forward just minutes to score one goal with the Blackhawks but it took him 20 games to score 3 goals with Arizona. Strome is paired with Alex Debrincat and Patrick Kane it is saying right now on dailyfaceoff.com. Although the Blackhawks lost 8-3 to the Golden Knights Strome did score his first game.
Jimmy Howard was rumored to be in heavy trade talks with the Blues. The Blues goalie situation is piss poor and it shows in the teams ranking. They are 7th in the Central division and already 19 points behind the Predators and 9 behind the first wild card spot. The Blues are 8-11-3 on the year with 19 points. They have been struggling for many reason but one major one is their goal tending. Jake Allen has a 3.27 goals against (GAA) and .896 save percentage with 6 wins as Chad Johnson has a 3.12 GAA and .895 save percentage. Jimmy Howard trumps both the two struggling netminders (and on a worse team) with a 2.68 GAA, .922 save percentage and seven wins in 17 games. There was not much released what the deal would be but we know the Blues have no first rounder for the 2019 draft therefore it would have to be a prospect. Being Howard is a number one goalie right now and was a 2nd rounder himself. The Blues will have to shed a prospect and probably a 4-5th rounder for Howard.
This was a late night deal that occured around 11:30 PM (EST) between the Coyotes and Blackhawks. Which certainly woke people up out of their sound sleep or probably was the last thing we all saw before our head hit the pillow Sunday night. This trade leaves us all a little confused. What was the objective of this trade?
Dylan Strome the Coyotes 2015 1st round third overall was quickly shipped out of Arizona only playing 48 total games with the Coyotes in the 2.5 years he was called up and down. The Coyotes may have moved on too quickly from the potential top-six forward but, Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said following the trade “There is a difference between patience and hope. The latter is not a way to build your organization”.
We can all agree this is hinted at Strome, Chayka clearly felt that there was hope for Strome to be good and they felt it was time to stop being patient with the player and move on from him.
They also part ways with 2014 1st round 12th overall pick Brendan Perlini. Perlini played 153 games with the Coyotes tallying 33 goals and 24 assists for 57 points. Perlini’s best season came last year where he tallied 30 points in 74 games. Perlini was another player not developing as quickly as the Coyotes would have liked.
With that acquire another 22 year old forward, Nick Schmaltz the Blackhawks 2014 1st round 20th overall pick. Schmaltz has played 162 games in the NHL scoring 29 goals and 91 points. He is coming off a 50 point season and 20 goal year. Yet on the year Schmaltz only has 2 goals and 9 assists in 23 games.
Who won the trade?
I think both make out well. The Blackhawks needed some depth it would have been nice to get a defenseman for the Blackhawks but with Strome and Perlini it makes the Blackhawks a bit deeper on the front end. The Coyotes now slate Schmaltz with his old teammate in Chicago Vinnie Hinostroza who has been buzzing this season. Plus Alex Galchenyuk, this is a solid second line and now the Coyotes have two very competitive lines that can score vs 1.5 lines that can score. In addition to the third line of Michael Grabner Brad Richardson and Christian Fischer, the Coyotes have a lot more depth now and balance in their line up. Either way more so better for the Coyotes right now could be better for Blackhawks long term.
What a start it has been for some of these players on this list and not in a good way. What has been the reason for these guys slow starts? Well, an addition of players, less time, team struggling, not a lot of confidence and overthinking the game! First on the list of five disappointing starts to the year is…
Jaden Schwartz: Anyone remember what this guy was up to last year? He was playing like an MVP and producing at a rate no one imagined, now the addition of all these forwards in St. Louis Schwartz value has taken a huge hit. Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron have dipped into this guys share. On the year he only has 2 goals and 5 assists, not to mention one of those two goals came in the last three games. Schwartz is playing with O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko on the first line now after the Blues switched some things up. Not a great start for the former 24-goal scorer, but it may increase as O’Reilly is on a line with him now.
Dylan Strome: This kid has not been what the Coyotes were expecting him to be. He is still young and it is still early in the year but Strome has just 2 goals and 3 assists on the year, two assists coming in the last two games. He is on a current 8-game scoring drought and has not scored since Columbus October 23rd. He is playing fourth line minutes at the moment rightfully so due to his lack of production. Perhaps moving the kid to winger may help but right now with the Coyotes playing well and there three centers not moving Strome may have another disappointing year.
Travis Konecny: Not what anyone expected from this guy. After last year where he put up 47 points and 24 goals, Konecny has just 3 goals and 5 assists on the year. He has scored one time over the last ten games and has just three points in ten games. He has struggled to get going this season and it is not a good sign for this winger as the Flyers have a slew of forward prospects on their roster and in the system. Have to see Konecny get going before the Flyers move on to fill this guys role. He is playing on the top line right now and if James Van Reimsydk comes back and Konecny is still at this type of production he could be a third liner.
Nick Schmaltz: Not a poor start but not a great one either, Schmaltz has just 2 goals and six assists this season playing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane you would probably expect more but the young right winger has not done his fair share on that line. Schmaltz has one goal and one assist in his last ten games, he last scored four games ago and his last assist came nine games ago. He is struggling to say the least, not much to worry about as the Blackhawks are not a team that has a lot of tools to replace Schmaltz but as a fantasy owner you have to be disappointed.
Milan Lucic: It has been a struggle for Lucic, the other day he was addressed by the media asking about his current scoring struggle and he said “Maybe it’s just the year 2018. It’s just not my year. Everything that could have bounced the other way has. I’ll just stay with it until 2019 rolls around.” Lucic has not scored in 17 games this season, his only goal came vs the Devils in the first game of the year. He has just four assists to go along with that and two assists in his last ten games. Lucic plays third line now with Ty Rattie and Ryan Strome, clearly he is not doing well, perhaps 2019 will be his year and he get back to 20+ goals a year.