Arizona Coyotes suffer yet another season-ending injury to Nick Schmaltz
Center Nick Schmaltz is another Arizona Coyote with a season-ending injury. | (Photo: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Arizona Coyotes suffer yet another season-ending injury to Nick Schmaltz

The injury list grew longer today as the Arizona Coyotes learned that center Nick Schmaltz will be lost for the season. Ouch! That hurts.

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William Grigsby

As if it wasn't enough to lose key starting players like Christian Dvorak, Antti Raanta, Jason Demers for the season, and lose Michael Grabner for 17 games with a severe eye injury... now Nick Schmaltz is the latest player to fall to a season-ending injury.

Lower body injuries have decimated the team

The only player who is not sidelined with a lower-body injury is Christian Dvorak who has not been able to play a single game this season due to a pectoral injury requiring surgery. 

For whatever reason, whether it's poor conditioning or just freak bad luck too many players will miss the rest of season due to lower-body injuries.

While I'm not an athletic trainer, it seems very strange that Raanta, Demers, and now Schmaltz have all succumbed to lower-body afflictions.

I mean granted the game of hockey is the fastest game in the world. Players are moving at high rates of speed and collisions happen and knees get taken out (Demers), but yet it just doesn't seem fair or just that one team must be straddled with injuries to so many key starters at one time.

But then who said professional sports is fair?

Losing Schmaltz is really painful

After the Arizona Coyotes made the bold trade to acquire Schmaltz by giving up both Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome, it was hoped that they could make their drive towards the playoffs.

Schmaltz certainly did impress everyone with his output. He collected five goals, nine assists in 17 games, including four power play goals along with three power play assists. That's half of his production!

To say he will be missed on the man-advantage is like saying you need to wear a sweater in Phoenix in June.

He was just getting some good chemistry with Clayton Keller and Alex Galchenyuk and then gets injured.

While one player going down to a long-term injury doesn't mean the team's destiny is ruined, but five starting players may just be too much to endure.

Will Chayka look for another center?

We can all see why GM John Chayka likes to have extra centers on his team. Losing both Dvorak and Schmaltz at center ice really puts their depth to test.

They must play Derek Stepan, Brad Richardson, Nick Cousins, and Mario Kempe at the center position unless they go back and put Galchenyuk there again... or make a trade.

Don't forget fans, the trade deadline is February 25th, and we all know how crafty Chayka can be. Now, he needs to really put his talents to the test to find a quality center-iceman to replace Schmaltz.

The St. Louis Blues seem ready to blow up their team after off-season deals to improve them has not worked out. They dwell in 14th place in the Western Conference and are said to be looking to make some significant changes. 

Brayden Schenn has been mentioned as a player that the Boston Bruins are interested in but the center would also fit nicely in a Coyotes' jersey. He has nine goals, 15 assists in 36 games and has a contract with a $5.125 million cap hit good through next season.

I'm sure if the Coyotes' were to be interested in Vladimir Tarasenko it would need to be a huge trade since he has a $7.5 million contract through the 2022/23 season. His stats would put him in the category of the star offensive player the Coyotes have lacked for years.

The only problem with trying to work out a deal with the Blues is that they will more than likely want to include Clayton Keller in a trade, and I'm not sure that Chayka wants to do that.... but you never can tell with Chayka.

The Blues may entice Keller to come back home to the St. Louis area where he grew up. 

The other factor is what do the Blues need?

Goaltending.

They may want Adin Hill in any trade package so that's something to consider. Jake Allen has just not done the job, and although he is not the complete reason for the Blues downward trend, he is a factor.

Something needs to be done

If Chayka doesn't make a deal to supplement the falling players landing on the injury list, he may suffer the consequences of another season without getting to the playoffs. That would make it eight years without any postseason play and for many GM's that's a sign of the organization needing to make some changes.

That could include Rick Tocchet as he has really not shown much as far as bringing the Coyotes out of the gloom of the lower placed teams in the Western Conference.

To be fair you can't even count this season since he is being asked to build a team when five good starters are not available to him. There are good consequences from starters being out and young players being called up from the AHL to fill in.

Look at how Conor Garland has blossomed as an NHL player since he has been called up. Mario Kempe has filled in admirably too.

Add Hill to that list as he has come in and played outstandingly well in net in Raanta's place along with Darcy Kuemper.

For now, the Arizona Coyotes will do the best that can with the roster they have until Chayka decides to go another direction.

Losing for whatever reason is still losing... and this team needs to get some breaks so it can actually get to the playoffs.

The sad part is... it more than likely won't be this season.

Injuries... what are you going to do?

Do you feel that the Arizona Coyotes' season will not be what they expected with all the severe injuries they have sustained this season? Let us know in the comments section below.

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