This afternoon we got word the Justin Schultz contract soap opera will soon come to and end (could be tonight, might be tomorrow). It’s about damn time, and even though the concern was minimal, it’s always good to have everyone arrive at camp at the same time. Any lag in readiness seems to anger the hockey gods, and the Oilers often pay double in the karma department.
Bartel is the PBP guy for the Kelowna Rockets, and an absolutely credible source. The details of the gap between the two sides was a steady leak all through summer (thanks, Matty!) and the fact they’re close suggests it’ll be short term and for lesser dollars.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART 2014-15 BLUE
|LEFT DEFENSE||RIGHT DEFENSE|
|MARTIN MARINCIN (730k)||JEFF PETRY (3.075M)|
|NIKITA NIKITIN (4.5M)||MARK FAYNE (3.625M)|
|ANDREW FERENCE (3.25M)||JUSTIN SCHULTZ (???)|
|KEITH AULIE (800k)||OSCAR KLEFBOM ($894,167)|
This makes the most sense to me, and of course we’ve discussed it previously. Rob Vollman (who will be my guest tomorrow on the Lowdown for the entire hour 11-noon) writes something similar in his Hockey Abstract 2014:
- Vollman: Justin Schultz could nicely fill a Keith Yandle or Torey Krug type of role as a big-minutes but sheltered puck-moving defenceman, a situation in which Andrew Ference might still remain a positive contributor as support.
It just makes too much sense! Extreme zone starts for that pairing, punishing ZS’s for the other two. Keep Ference and Schultz far from the madding crowd! The only reason not to do it? You don’t trust Andrew Ference enough, and that’s an argument I will buy. A year ago, Dallas Eakins didn’t use Ference or Schultz in this way:
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER 2013-14 OILERS BLUE
If you could get Schultz over to the Larsen side, or a 55 Vollman ZS, with even easier opposition than last season? Music! Keep Petry and Marincin where they are, and plot Fayne and Nikitin somewhere along between the two pairings. I get that Marincin is unproven, and I understand Nikitin was being used less and less in Columbus. I still prefer those two men on the dark side of the moon and Schultz shining like a crazy diamond.