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Coyotes View Schmaltz's Skills, Creativity As 'Very Valuable Assets'

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE -- Although he's only played 17 games for the Coyotes, Nick Schmaltz is considered a key component to the team's future. That's why the club secured his services through the 2025-26 season by signing him to a seven-year contract extension.

"Nick's a very, very talented offensive player," General Manager John Chayka said Saturday, a few hours after the Coyotes announced the deal. "The stuff he does with the puck and his mind, the creativity, those are very valuable assets and they're tough to find. (We're) excited to lock that up long-term."

Video: Chayka: Schmaltz Is 'Very Talented Offensive Player'

The Coyotes acquired Schmaltz from the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 25 in exchange for recent first-round draft picks Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome. Schmaltz, 23, notched five goals and nine assists in his first 17 games with Arizona before suffering a season-ending lower-body injury.

"It's very exciting," Schmaltz, who was set to become a restricted free agent on July 1, said of his new deal. "I want to be a part of this team for a long time. I'm glad that they felt the same way and that they want me to be a part of this young core. I think we've got a great future ahead of us, and I'm excited to get going here ... The coaches are great, the training staff (and) everyone in the organization is just first-class. And obviously we've got a great team with a lot of young players and some key veteran guys as well. I think it's a good mix. You can see from this year, I think we're only going up from here."

Video: Schmaltz Talks Signing Lengthy Contract Extension

Chayka said Schmaltz's stellar play in his 17 games with the Coyotes was just one factor behind the contract extension.

"We had a large sample size in terms of scouting him in his draft year, through college, and his transition to pro," Chayka said. "Obviously we saw him in Chicago, what he did there, and then as part of it you look at what he did here in Arizona."

Schmaltz, whom the Blackhawks drafted 20th overall in 2014, thrived on Arizona's first power-play unit. He tallied four power-play goals and three power-play assists before the injury. His chemistry with leading point producer Clayton Keller was palpable.

"I thought I fit well," Schmaltz said. "Whoever I was playing with, I thought I was playing with a lot of speed. It sucks to be out, but I'm definitely looking forward to next year."

Schmaltz is one of several core pieces the Coyotes recently have signed to lengthy contracts. The others include captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, goalie Antti Raanta, defenseman Jakob Chychrun and center Christian Dvorak. 

"In my opinion, you're looking at the organization, to have this type of stability and talent at premium positions is something we haven't had, maybe ever," Chayka said. 

After talking to reporters about his new contract on Saturday, Schmaltz skated away from teammates.

"It feels good," Schmaltz said of his recovery. "It's definitely a slow process, and you've got to stick with it, but the guys here have done a great job of balancing when to get on the ice and when to do off-ice training. So I can't thank them enough, and I'm getting closer every day and feel more comfortable on the ice. Hopefully it won't be too long before I feel 100 percent."

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