LA Kings Prospect Matt Schmalz Joins ReignMar 23, 2016
The Ontario Reign announced today that forward Matt Schmalz has joined the Reign on an amateur tryout agreement.
Schmalz, 20, recently completed a four-year junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Sudbury Wolves (2012-16) and Kitchener Rangers (2012-13) totaling 88 points (40 goals, 48 assists) in 246 games.
The Dunnville, Ontario, native was selected by the Kings in the fifth round (134th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Via Reign Insider:
Schmalz, a 2015 draft pick of the Kings, just wrapped up his season with OHL-Sudbury and has extended his hockey season by joining the Reign. Schmalz met the team in Bakersfield after getting the call from Mike Futa. He watched from the stands Tuesday and got a friendly welcome on the ride to Ontario.
“They gave me a spot on the bus without no problems of doubling up or any older guys sitting in front of me, so it was good,” Schmalz joked.
Similar to last season where the AHL affiliate brought on Adrian Kempe, Jonny Brodzinski and others late, Stothers recalled, it’s a chance for Schmalz to learn about life as a pro.
“There is no mandate to play him, but the way things are shaping up he might get in and we might put him in just to see what he can do,” Stothers said.
Stothers compared Schmalz to a Justin Auger-type, a big, heavy winger.
When asked to characterize his own play, the 20-year-old said he’s an “up and down” the boards forward with a bit of a scoring touch in front of the net. That scoring touch was lost somewhat this year, something that Schmalz offered up as an honest assessment of his own game. After a 24-goal season in his draft year, he had just nine this season.
“I think it was kind of a learning experience for me,” Schmalz said. “I was an older guy and I tried to take the season into my own hands which kind of led myself into making some selfish plays. I put too much pressure on myself and wasn’t really playing like I was in my draft year.”
Stothers does seem willing though to insert him into the lineup in the regular season so long as the Reign are moving along with what they want to accomplish, and so long as the 6-foot-5 Schmalz deserves it.
“He’s got to come in here and he’s got to earn the right through his practice habits and his hard work … he’s got to try to impress us as a coaching staff in a short amount of time,” Stothers said.