The Chicago Blackhawks have debuted first round pick Nick Schmaltz in their lineup during their first three games of the 2016-17 season – and that’s all it took for the forward to record his first career NHL goal.
Schmaltz scored for the Blackhawks to officially get on the scoreboard during Chicago’s Saturday evening game against the Nashville Predators, putting the team up 1-0 in the first period against their divisional rivals. This was both his first goal at the pro level and his first point.
Drafted 20th overall by Chicago in 2014, the 20-year-old Schmaltz made the decision to go pro this summer following his second successful season of NCAA hockey with the University of North Dakota. He walked away from collegiate hockey with a career 16 goals and 72 points through two seasons – and clearly, it was a good call.
Schmaltz’s goal was more than just a personal milestone, though.
The Blackhawks have started out their 2016-17 campaign with a 0-2-0 record, which marks the first time under head coach Joel Quenneville that the club has lost their first two games of the regular season. As a result, Schmaltz putting the team up against Nashville – while still early in the game against the Predators – marks a potential win for the club that seems to be struggling to find their footing this fall.
At the moment, the Blackhawks are up 2-0 over the Predators.