Will Schmaltz Return? Should He?

Yesterday,the Chicago Blackhawks traded Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes for two draft picks. What impact does this have on the prospects of Nick Schmaltz to leave early and sign with the Blackhawks?

The Blackhawks have room for Schmaltz to compete at the NHL level this season. They have multiple contracts coming off of the books and will have room to sign him to an entry-level deal. If Schmaltz leaves UND will be fine. There will still be a line featuring two first round picks in Brock Boeser and Tyson Jost. UND will still have Austin Poganski and Rhett Gardner shutting down the best lines the opposition has to offer.Cam Johnson will still be in net making good saves and keeping UND in pretty much every game. The Blackhawks do have a fair amount of forwards that will not be resigning with the club this offseason, so there is room for Schmaltz to sign with the team.

Schmaltz does make outstanding passes and great plays with the puck. He needs one more year at UND in my opinion to refine his game a bit more. For example, the more Schmaltz can bury the open shot, the tougher he becomes to defend. Also, if Schmaltz could see some more time on the penalty kill this season that would boost his readiness. In the NHL Nick will most likely start out on the third line, and thus be asked to help kill penalties. Since Schmaltz will not earn top six minutes for Chicago, he will be asked to play on the team’s bottom six and provide a physical presence in his game. Schmaltz is so close to being able to do that. Spending one more year at UND will help him refine and develop other areas of his game like shooting and defense.

If Schmaltz were to sign with the Blackhawks, he may be riding a shuttle bus between the AHL and NHL all season if he does not do well. At North Dakota, Schmaltz is a star that plays like Nick Backstrom, and makes Backstrom-esque passes to Brock Boeser on a routine basis. He has one more year where he cannot become a free agent at the end of the season. Nick should use that year to get better in all facets of his game so he does not have to see the AHL at all next year.






Carson Wentz- Look Ahead

Carson Wentz, a Bismarck native and a North Dakota State University graduate was picked second overall to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2016 NFL draft. If you’re from North Dakota, then you need no introduction to Wentz. For those less familiar, he led NDSU to two out of the five consecutive FCS championships than NDSU currently holds. In his senior year he started in seven games and has a completion rate of 62.5% for 1,651 yards.  He also has 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions, along with six touchdowns for himself. Wentz was named to the College Sports Information Directors Association All-American squad for two consecutive years.

From an analytical standpoint, Wentz’s greatest strength comes from how he deals under pressure in the pocket. He is smart, and he knows when to run the ball and when to throw it. When he throws, it is high and accurate. His weakness comes from having issues with his footwork in the pocket and from locking on to the receiver that he is intending to pass to, which gives more time for defense to get to that intended player.

Coming from an FCS school, it is surprising to many that he was picked so highly.  During the first weeks of practice, it is starting to become evident that Wentz has a lot of growing to do before he will be ready to make his debut onto the NHL field. Head Coach Doug Pederson noticed that he has a wobble to the ball at times, but NDSU has seen this from him before, and a little wobble has never stopped Wentz in the past. Carson told reports this week that timing and accuracy are more important than how pretty the ball looks at the end of the day, as all rookies need to have time to get used to playing on a different level of playing. I am not saying that Wentz could not start this year and perform well if it was needed, but I do think that he needs some more time to mature.




Ratelle goes to ATL

Over the weekend, former UND linebacker Will Ratelle signed as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. Throughout his time at UND, Ratelle emerged as the leader of a defense that improved considerably during his last two years on campus. Ratelle is a bit shorter than a typical linebacker in the NFL,and wil be given a chance to compete as a fullback for the Falcons. The Edina native has done well do differentiate himself and give himself a chance at the next level. Ratelle had an impressive pro day at the University of Minnesota. The style of game he plays lends itself well to both sides of the ball.There has not been a game in his career that was not smash mouth full motor effort for him. Every play opposing defenses had to account for the Edina native. Ratelle should get his reps during the preseason and have a chance to make the Falcons 53-man roster this fall.

Wentz vs Goff:Who is Going First?

The Los Angeles Rams made a big trade this year to get to the number one pick, not that I can blame them, The Titans’ walked away with Los Angeles’ next top four picks (first, two second and a third) plus the Rams’ first and third round picks in 2017. They need to pick up a franchise quarterback and with options Carson Wentz (North Dakota State University) and Jared Goff (California), both are a shoe in for first round picks. The Rams have been lacking in the quarterback spot since Marc Bulger left town. This team is trying to compete in the NFC West with teams that have QB’s like Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer.

Carson Wentz is a good fit,because he is a very athletic and knows how to make plays in and out of the pocket. He also came from playing in a program that runs a very similar offence to what they already run. Wentz has a lot to prove coming from an FCS school. Many are questioning if Wentz can hold up under professional spotlight. One big question is how his wrist is going to hold up. Wentz was out starting in October for a broken wrist that needed surgery and only returned in January. Although he had a remarkable performance during the FBS championship game, was that just pure luck and does he have the ability to stop staring down his targets allowing defenses to read his passes?  Since the Rams did not pick up a free agent QB,Wentz has to step in right away and compete.This is a lot to handle as  starter in his rookie year.

Overall, I think that the Rams will take Wentz, he fits better into what the offense is already doing and they need a quarterback that they can develop into a franchise leader in a quarterback-laden NFC West.

Philadelphia Eagles (From the Cleveland Browns)

Jared Goff has been playing as starting QB for California since he was a true freshman and has been in scouts’ eyes since than. The Golden Bear signal-caller has the experienced the pressure that competing at a Pac 12 school provides. Goff has the ability to pick apart defenses and spends a good amount of time in the pocket allowing the receivers time to free up. He does come with some concerns, a big one is his frame at 6’4” and only 215 pounds, the question is if he can stand up to being hit by the large defensive players on a pro level. Goff also has a bad habit of not planting his feet when he throws.

The Eagles will pick Goff because they are looking to turn around a poor performing franchise . They also have a QB that has a few more years to play that would give Goff sometime to bulk up and to learn more.

Seattle Seahawks Schedule

Football season is right around the corner, that means one thing for me Seattle Seahawks!! It is second to none for me!! So, let’s talk a little about what our schedule means, the Seahawks have four preseason games. Starting the season in Kansas City on august 13th, which is the only 1:30 preseason game, followed by Vikings, Aug 18th, Cowboys, Aug 25, both these games being at home. We end the preseason at Oakland on September 1st.

This season, the Seahawks have 8 away games.Thankfully only two of these are in a row.

9-18: LA Rams

10-02: NY Jets

10-23: Arizona Cardinals

10-30: New Orleans Saints

11-13: New England Patriots

11-27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-11: Green Bay Packers

01-01: San Francisco 49ers

With 8 home games

9-11:Miami Dolphins

9-25: San Francisco 49ers

10-16: Atlanta Falcons

11-9: Buffalo Bills

11-20: Philadelphia Eagles

12-4: Carolina Panthers

12-15: LA Rams

12-24: Arizona Cardinals