Imagine needing something so badly your future depends on it. This precious commodity is so dear that payment may require all your gold and silver. Further imagine the feeling you’d have if that thing–the one exact thing you needed so badly–walked in the door voluntarily and committed to you.
Justin Schultz signing with the Edmonton Oilers borders on fairytale.
- Steve Tambellini: “Justin called us just prior to free agency. We had all our pro scouts in the room, all our management, all our coaches. Everyone was in the room. And when Justin told us his decision, there was an eruption of cheers and emotions because we knew this was not just a very good young player coming, but confirmation that we are doing the right things. His decision was so important on so many levels. For the hockey club, it was confirmation that we’re doing the right things. For the city, it was important because of the times we’ve been shunned, whether it be free agents (who wouldn’t come) or people who wanted to leave for various reasons. It was important for the city for someone to choose Edmonton because he believes in where we are going. It was important for someone to choose Edmonton for all the right reasons.”
Summer 2012: #2
Winter 2012: #2
- ISS: 42
- CSS: 38
- Bob McKenzie: 58
- Redline: 55
- Draft Day Scouting Report (Mike Remmerde): Strengths: Excellent skater. Big time shot from the point. Weaknesses: Soft – no physical presence. Slight build (6.01, 163) and will need to bulk up. Not aggressive with the puck. Outstanding skater with a smooth stride and good pivots. Doesn’t use his speed. Good asset on the PP – loves to shoot the puck and can his shot on net consistently. Shot is hard and he gets it away quickly. Good overall hockey sense, but doesn’t seem to move or carry the puck real well. Decent decisions in defensive zone, but just does not even try to use his body. Summary: Lacks some zip in his game. With all that skating and puck skill, I’d like him a lot more if he had more confidence or aggressiveness offensively.
- Anthony Mastantuoni, NY Sports Day: Schultz is the cousin of former Capital first round draft pick Kris Beech. Justin is an offensive blueliner who uses his speed to jump into the rush, and the best part is that he has the hockey sense to know when to do it. However, he does need to work on defensive game and he needs to add some muscle to his frame (6-1/163)
- Corey Pronman: Schultz is a player defined by his puck possession skills which are easily high-end. He is a player who one NHL executive described as having “outstanding hockey sense and poise with the puck.” Schultz can make special plays because of his high-end if not better vision and offensive instincts. If you want a defenseman who can control a power play, make great outlets, be creative with the puck, hit his passing targets through tight seams, and know when to join the rush, then Schultz is your guy.
- More Pronman: Schultz projects as a potential #2 defenseman in the NHL. While he should be able to log tough minutes, I don’t think he’ll be your best shutdown defenseman. He’ll be pretty good in that area, but he can be a team’s best power play guy. Keep in mind, though, that he only turns 22 in the summer and defensemen tend to have much more risk/variance on their projections than forwards when making that jump to the NHL. I love his talent level and I think he certainly can reach his projection, but due to his position I wouldn’t go say he’s a “sure thing” to do so, nor would I say he’ll peak in the next 1-2 years. The team that signs him could reasonably expect him to step onto their second pairing and be good on the power play from the get-go, which would be a great asset, with the ability to be even greater down the line.
- Thomas Drance:First of all, Schultz has serious pedigree. Gilroy and Brunnstrom were undrafted late-bloomers, whereas Justin Schultz was part of the ridiculously loaded 2008 defenseman draft class (along with Doughty, Pietrangello, Bogosian, Karlsson, Carlsson and Myers). The Wisconsin Badger was selected in the second round of that draft – two slots behind Canucks prospect Yann Sauve – and he’s been highly touted ever since. Secondly, when you look at the numbers, it’s pretty clear that Justin Schultz was the single best offensive defenseman not playing in the NHL this past season. He’s not the best blue-line prospect under the Sun (for my money, that presumptive title belongs to Bruins prospect Doug Hamilton), but at a minimum, Schultz looks like he’s ready to produce offense at the NHL level.
- December 2004: G Jeff Deslauriers
- December 2005: C Marc-Antoine Pouliot
- December 2006: C Rob Schremp
- December 2007: C Andrew Cogliano
- December 2008: R Jordan Eberle
- December 2009: R Jordan Eberle
- December 2010: R Jordan Eberle
- December 2011: C Anton Lander
- December 2012: D Justin Schultz
The only thing left is to pray for good health, hope he can play defense (early viewings are good) and wish that wrister into NHL success. Above, Pronman suggests he projects as a #2, and that seems about right. Solid EV play, miles of PP, even some PK. Oilers haven’t solved the blue with Justin Schultz, but he’s a major building block–along with Jeff Petry and Ladislav Smid he’s the foundation of the future.