Edmonton Oilers Sign Justin Schultz
Schultz, who some scouts feel is the best defenseman not playing in the NHL, was said to be entertaining offers from several NHL clubs, including the Oilers, Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers.
Friday night reports surfaced that former Oilers’ legends Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey had reached out to Schultz in an attempt to lure him to Edmonton. While it is not known if Gretzky and Coffey’s talks were the final piece to the puzzle in Schultz’s decision it sure doesn’t hurt when two of the best players in NHL history come calling.
Originally drafted in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Aneheim Ducks, Schultz became a unrestricted free agent when he refused to sign with the Ducks.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was the man who drafted Schultz for the Ducks which led to speculation that he may have a leg up in signing Schultz.
In the end, not even a close relationship shared by Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner and Schultz could sway the product of the University of Wisconsin, which was also thought to be a positive for the Maple Leafs.
Schultz will now join a talented Oilers team, which can offer him upwards of 20 minutes of ice time a game and plenty of power play time. Of course, Schultz will still have to earn a spot on the roster, but if we believe what the scouts have been saying about this kid, I’d say he is money to crack the Oilers roster this season.
Then again, Schultz could join a long list of over-hyped players that struggle at the NHL level, like Jonas “the monster” Gustavsson and Fabian Brunnstrom have.
Let’s face it, as much as the Leafs Nation would have loved to have seen Schultz in the Blue and White, Edmonton is a good fit for Schultz, who will join what may emerge as the best forward corps in the NHL in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner– not to mention first overall pick at this years NHL Entry Draft, Nail Yakapov!
Congratulations Edmonton! Looks like you got yourself a beauty!
Until next time,