Justin Schultz: Which Team Will Land Him?

June 27th, 2012 6 Comments

If you are hoping that your favorite NHL team will land free agent defenseman Justin Schultz I’ve got some advice for you— don’t get your hopes up too high.

According to reports, as many as 26 NHL teams hope to make a pitch for the University of Wisconsin standout, with the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks said to have already spoken to Schultz and his agents in Toronto on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement Schultz stands to get a maximum of $925,000 on a two-year entry level contract. Bonuses could see Schultz earn as much as $3.7 million per season.

With the maximum contract already set in stone, there will be no bidding war for Schultz—at least when it comes to money. Instead, teams will have to sell the soon to be 22-year old on their franchise and the amount of playing time that he can expect.

At 6’1” and 185 pounds, Schultz has a little filling out to do, but many scouts feel he is NHL ready. A native of Westbank, British Columbia, Schultz is known for his smooth skating and offensive abilities, scoring 16 goals and 44 points in 37 games with Wisconsin last season—the most points of any D-man in collegiate hockey.

Given the poor state of their defense, Edmonton can offer Schultz plenty of ice time and when you consider how deep the Oilers are up front and the age of their roster, Edmonton looks to be an appealing option for him.

On the other hand, Vancouver already has a Stanley Cup calibre team. If Schultz was to sign with the Canucks he may not get over 20 minutes a night like he could in Edmonton, but he could play a valuable role for a club that could use an injection of youth on the backend.

Of course, there will be plenty of other teams looking to land Schultz, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto has a couple of ties to Schultz. First, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was the GM in Anaheim when the Ducks drafted Schultz in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Toronto also currently employs defenseman Jake Gardiner, who just happens to be Schultz’s former teammate and good friend.

Whether or not the Burke-Gardiner factor will be enough to sell Schultz on the Maple Leafs remains to be seen. On the backend, Toronto already employs Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, Jake Gardiner, Carl Gunnarsson and Mike Komisarek, with Korbinian Holzer (who played well for the Marlies last season) knocking on the door and Cody Franson, who is a restricted free agent this summer.

Let’s face it, even with Toronto’s logjam on defense, one has to think that Burke and company would find room for a player with Schultz’s talent.

If the trend continues, Komisarek will be in the press box with an injury or due to poor play by November and Franson could always be traded or left unsigned.

One thing is for sure, Schultz is in complete control of his future. While I am rooting for Toronto to sign him, one couldn’t blame him if he signed in Edmonton (which is where I think he will sign) or Vancouver.

In the end Schultz is said to be interested in 5-6 teams, including the New York Rangers, Canucks, Oilers, Ottawa Senators and Maple Leafs. Burke will have to sell Schultz on Toronto, let’s hope he brings his “A-game”.

Until next time,

Peace!

6 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Fingers crossed dude!!!!! Burkie has been after this guy for two years now. Lets hope July 1 it pays off.

    Dave

  2. MarkRitter says:

    Yep. With Toronto already having the likes of Rielly, Finn, Blacker, Stuart and Holzer in the system and Gardiner, Phaneuf and Gunnarsson with the big club—that is a hell of a collection of young D-Men. Imagine adding Schultz to the list?

    It is that defensive depth that may cause Schultz to turn elsewhere, but yeah, fingers are crossed my man!

  3. Louis Pisano says:

    Leafs are sure to sign Franson hes 24 and has a ton of potential to grow. Also a good peice to add to a trade I’d figure. Shultz would be sick to scoop up man! Fingers crossed is right! Peace bro!

  4. MarkRitter says:

    Louis!!!

    Funny how we are all excited about a kid many have never watched play a second of hockey!

    Certainly the scouts love the kid, and judging by all the teams interested I’d say his talent is for real.

    Talk soon man!

  5. Dave says:

    True enough boys…the tempered approach says, lets not go wild here, dude hasnt stepped on NHL ice yet. BUT….were Leaf fans right? F-tempered expectations!

    The good news is that Burkie and his staff wanted this guy in the Beach deal, but Anaheim wouldnt do it – Murray thought Shultz would be the better man as comapred to Gardiner. Obviously Burkie believed that as well seeing as Shultz was his target and he all heard last year how Gards was going to likely play in the American league.

    All things being equal, if this guy can play like Gards….were in for a real treat and will be able to put some serious packages together to gain some more size, grit and scoring.

    Happy Canada Day weekend boys!

    Cheers,

    Dave

  6. MarkRitter says:

    The Oilers have agreed to terms with free agent defenceman Justin Schultz! More details to come today (Saturday)…Source: Edmonton Oilers Facebook Fan site.

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