I don't get it at all. Schmaltz doesn't have a ton of leverage here and he still got big money. His offensive numbers were likely inflated from playing alongside Kane in CHI. I'd much rather have Drouin at $5.5M and Larkin is only $250k higher at $6.1M AAV and he's far superior. I thought Schmaltz would sign for around $4.5M AAV on a six year deal. This is an overpay, in my opinion. Does ARI really see him as a potential #1 Center scoring 70+ points on a regular basis? I don't.
Just for the recored, Nylander received about $1.5M AAV more than he should've too. But that was a unique experience. ARI isn't on the clock here. They could've held out.
I would stand to argue that playing with Kane did very little to inflate his numbers based on what other Hawks fans have told me. They said the reason he never shot the puck, which is what made everyone the angriest was because he felt too much pressure to pass it to Kane rather than to trust himself to score. In addition to that, we saw in his brief stint with the Coyotes he had 14 points in 17 games, made Keller play better, and increased our powerplay% by around 4%, obviously all without Kane.
Secondly, you say you don't see him being a number one Center, and I agree with you, but he's not even making #1 center money now, much less 3-4 years down the line with the cap likely continuing to rise. I know there are bargain contracts, but those shouldn't be the baseline for comparisons. I think it's a fair deal where both sides are getting reasonable return.
Sure, there's a risk factor with this deal, but that's how you get bargain contracts in the first place, and Arizona has the cap space and the urgency to take some risks.