JUSTIN SCHULTZ

Lots of positive chatter about Justin Schultz after his weekend debut in Cleveland. Most of us are excited about his ability to make good things happen with the puck, but what about play away from it?

The Oilers have had some success with NCAA defensemen in recent times, with Tom Gilbert and Jeff Petry being examples. However, in the not too distant past Tom Poti drove fans to distraction with his finesse play and lack of physical edge.

Years ago–this was when my son was quite young–I asked John Short about Poti. I was looking for a good answer for my son when he asked me the next time about Oiler fans booing Poti.

Short said something along the lines of this: guys like Tom Poti come up through US high  school and then NCAA and never really have to worry about the puck. When they want it, they go get it–they are the best player on the ice at any given time.

John felt that Poti was lost without the puck because he’d never really played without it, and he was learning about positioning and gap coverage and the back door play at the NHL level.

I don’t think we’ll see that with Schultz. His NCAA career came after his BCJHL career and that level would have given him a clue about the defensive end of the rink. Still, it is a real positive to read about his defensive play and to see his ability to think on his feet.

A guy who can play like he can at one end of the rink often means a nightmare at the other end. It looks like Justin Schultz is an exception.

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17 Responses to "JUSTIN SCHULTZ"

  1. spoiler says:

    I don’t think he’s gonna be an absolute hoss like a Suter or Weber, in his own end but could easily be as good as say Mike Green or a Boyle or Streit. Which is still a wow in my books.

  2. Bad Seed says:

    So what’s the deal with Schultz’s contract? If we lose this year, is he a free agent after next?

  3. hunter1909 says:

    spoiler,

    Only Bobby Orr is allowed to be as good as Shultz.

  4. "Steve Smith" says:

    Bad Seed
    The answer to that question, like the answers to 100% of questions about players’ contract statuses, is that it depends on the new CBA.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Steve: That’s a great answer to Bad Seed’s original question.

  6. LMHF#1 says:

    Edmonton fans, and to a lesser extent fans throughout the league, do not understand the game of an offensive defenceman or even when offensive tendencies come out in gifted defencemen. Some of these guys even appear to have become coaches.

    I suspect that this is because the vast majority of their coaches as kids played the slugs on D, suggested that their only job was to bang the puck out and hit people, and they never learned otherwise. Then again, maybe it is simpler than that. The vast majority in attendance at any given game don’t even understand why not shooting is often the best option.

  7. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide:
    Steve: That’s a great answer to Bad Seed’s original question.

    How do you operate this quoting technology? Get off my lawn.

  8. Kris11 says:

    “Steve Smith”: How do you operate this quoting technology?Get off my lawn.

    Like this.

    (I screwed this up once and had to delete.)

  9. "Steve Smith" says:

    As for Schultz, my fondest hope is that he turns out to be Joni Pitkanen, except without the part where he really doesn’t want to play in Edmonton. I hear he was taking breakaways in Oklahoma, which is the one thing I ask of any defenceman, so that’s a start.

  10. Bad Seed says:

    "Steve Smith",

    We keep hearing about guys like Khabibulin being set free next year since they’re on their last year so I wondered how it may apply to a guy like Schultz. Be a shame to see him only one year in Edm if he’s who we think he is.

  11. "Steve Smith" says:

    Bad Seed:
    “Steve Smith”,

    We keep hearing about guys like Khabibulin being set free next year since they’re on their last year so I wondered how it may apply to a guy like Schultz.Be a shame to see him only one year in Edm if he’s who we think he is.

    Well, I haven’t heard much talk of the UFA age under the new CBA being lowered to 24, so I suspect we’ll keep Schultz’s rights beyond the end of next season. But it’s all speculation at this point.

  12. "Steve Smith" says:

    jp,

    Don’t like him; not enough breakaways.

  13. bookje says:

    Lowetide:
    Steve: That’s a great answer to Bad Seed’s original question.

    LT: That’s a nice compliment regarding Steve’s answer to bad seeds question.

  14. "Steve Smith" says:

    bookje: LT: That’s a nice compliment regarding Steve’s answer to bad seeds question.

    Bookie: That’s a nice analysis of the hypocrisy of organized religion.

  15. BlacqueJacque says:

    Great timing, I was really hoping to see this. Thanks LT.

  16. Dipstick says:

    I still have to pinch myself that Schultz picked the Oilers. That guy is found money.

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