Jake Schmaltz closes out the current Bruins prospect series- we started recapping and updating all of the drafted and/or signed prospects back when the COVID-19 quarantines began near the end of March and three months later, we’re caught up. We look forward to analyzing the next wave of Boston prospects- whenever the 2020 NHL Entry Draft happens. Watch for a main page post that will rank and list all of the prospects we’ve covered linked to each of these profiles for ease of reference.
Jake Schmaltz, LW/C- L
Current team: Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Previous team: Chicago Steel (USHL)
Strengths: Hockey IQ/vision is Schmaltz’s best asset- he’s smart and creative, able to see the play unfolding and get to the point of attack where he can influence things. His natural instincts help him to be a 200-foot player who understands his role and responsibilities in his own end. A quick, agile skater for his height- able to get off the mark quickly, and while he doesn’t possess dynamic open-ice speed/separation, Schmaltz can get to loose pucks with fine small-area skills and burst. Deft touch with the puck- more of a passer/distributor. Good character and work ethic.
Weaknesses: Although possessing good height, Schmaltz is lean and will have to address his functional strength going forward. He’s not all that strong on his skates and tends to be more of an upright skater, making him susceptible to being knocked off the puck when trying to drive through contact while in motion.
Overall analysis: The former Wisconsin high school and Team Wisconsin (AAA) standout’s offense blossomed two years ago and he earned a top NCAA commitment to the Fighting Hawks. A season later, he was a strong two-way forward in his rookie USHL campaign in 2018-19, parlaying that into being Boston’s final selection in Vancouver.
Schmaltz, a cousin of NHL brothers Nick (Arizona) and Jordan (NY Islanders- Bridgeport), isn’t a high-end prospect by any means, but plays a sound three-zone game and has some pro upside with his natural smarts. Like most players his age, he’s got a lot of physical development ahead, and added strength to his lower body will improve his skating in terms of overall power/leg drive. He’s a versatile forward who brings the attributes that coaches value to play an honest, consistent shift. Don’t expect a big point producer at the higher levels, but he does compete hard and finds ways to contribute on both sides of the puck.
Projection: Like Jack Becker, Schmaltz is on the long program in Boston’s system. He’s got a top commitment in the NCHC with University of North Dakota, and could very well play the four full years of his NCAA eligibility before he signs/turns pro. That will obviously depend on how he develops there, but there will be no urgency to get him into the system for the time being.
Given his age and USHL experience, Schmaltz should be one of Green Bay’s top players in 20-21 as long as the plan remains in place for him to return for one more year of junior.
Bruins development camp video from 2019
WFRV (Green Bay) news feature on Schmaltz: