The Arizona Coyotes traded forwards Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Nick Schmaltz on Sunday.
Schmaltz had 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 23 games for the Blackhawks this season. Selected in the first round (No. 20) in the 2014 NHL Draft, he had 91 points (29 goals, 62 assists) in 162 games with Chicago.
"Nick's been a productive player his whole career," Coyotes general manager John Chayka said Monday. "He's more of a playmaker than a shooter but he's a dual threat. He's 22, he creates a lot of scoring chances, creates a lot of offense, and has done so at the highest level. Again, we think he's going to add to the offense in a multidimensional way, create some space for others, makes plays.
"He makes us better today and we owe it to our fans to do that. We have an opportunity in our division today but that window is closing quickly, so we've got to get our act together."
Arizona (9-11-2) is five points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division, but own three games in hand. The Coyotes are six points behind the Dallas Stars for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference and hold two games in hand.
The Coyotes play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV).
Chayka said Schmaltz, who can be a restricted free agent July 1, will play center for the Coyotes. He had been used on the wing this season by the Blackhawks.
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"Obviously wasn't expecting it, but I was pretty excited to hear Arizona has tried to get me for the last year, pulling for me pretty hard," Schmaltz said. "The [Blackhawks] got some good players in return and I hope they do well and make an impact on the team. I'm excited to get going here. They wanted me on the team so I'm going to do everything I can to help out the team."
Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said he's confident Strome, 21, and Perlini, 22, will fit well with the way coach Jeremy Colliton wants the Blackhawks to play.
"Watching both Brendan and Dylan play, we think there are attributes to their game that are going to translate well to how we want to play," he said. "They bring some size, they're both big guys, and in the case of Perlini he's a great skater. I mean fantastic wheels, great shot. He can really get the puck up the ice and he can put the puck on the net. He's got a great release. So from that perspective he can play a lot of different roles. He can play sort of up and down the lineup because he's got the ability to skate and shoot.
"And then in Dylan's case he's got just incredible hockey instincts and skill level, passing. So when you put it together, we got two NHL players on our team now for one, and you have to give to get. We're not going to get two players like that by not trading away a really good player. It's not easy to do that."
Strome (6-foot-3, 200 pounds), who was selected by the Coyotes with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, had six points (three goals, three assists) in 20 games this season. He has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 48 NHL games, all with Arizona. Strome is signed through the 2019-20 season with an average annual value of $863,333.
"Obviously I wanted to be a little more productive," Strome said. "I don't think that's a surprise to anyone. I want to put up numbers and help whatever team I'm on win. I want to come here and help this team win. I'm a Chicago Blackhawk now and I'm proud and ready to get to work."
Perlini (6-3, 211) had six points (two goals, four assists) in 22 games with the Coyotes this season. Chosen by Arizona with the No. 12 pick in the 2014 draft, he has 57 points (33 goals, 24 assists) in 153 NHL games. He's in the final season of a three-year, entry-level contract with an average annual value of $863,333) and can become a restricted free agent July 1.
"We think they're two young guys who both have a lot of potential, a lot of untapped potential," Colliton said. "And I think it's important not to have too many preconceived expectations. Let's just let them play. But I think they improve our depth and can maybe increase the pace for our game, increase the tempo of our game, just by having that depth. Looking forward to seeing them."
The Blackhawks (9-10-5) are three points behind the Stars for the second wild card in the Western Conference. They play the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers and NHL.com correspondent Alan Robinson contributed to this report