Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Schultz Is Going All Bobby Orr In The AHL

Justin Schultz is off to a hot start with the Oklahoma City Barons and currently leads the AHL in points with 12 points in 7 games. Even more impressive is his 6 goals already this year from the back end. The Oklahoma City Barons are one of the more stacked AHL teams from the NHL lockout with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle joining the team and they are getting an extra boost this weekend when Taylor Hall returns from the IR. What makes Justin Schultz's 12 points so amazing is that The Nuge and Eberle both started the season slowly and Schultz has consistently kept the scoring going for the Barons as they sit in a playoff spot with a 4-3 record.

These Bobby Orr-type offensive numbers might not be a shock for the people that followed Schultz when he played college hockey for the University of Wisconsin. He was the back-to-back defensive player of the year in the WCHA and put up two huge years with 18 goals and 47 points in 41 games in 2010-11 and last year scored 16 goals and 44 points in just 37 games. Offensively and defensively sound, Schultz is just what the Oilers blueline needs and he's improved the Barons greatly already with two powerplay goals and two shorthanded goals early in the season.

Schultz was taken 43rd overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, but now somehow he's joined the Edmonton Oilers stable of young, top prospects that are lighting it up for the organization. Schultz officially "de-registered" from the University of Wisconsin in May triggering a process that would eventually make him an unrestricted free agent. From the time Anaheim was given notice of the de-registration from school, they had a 30-day exclusive window to try to sign him or trade him, but Schultz was looking to test the free agent water despite having never played an NHL game. Using the CBA to decide what team he would play for, Schultz decided he would join the young Oilers after being wooed by Oilers management and even Wayne Gretzky... or was it Paulina?

It sucks for the Anaheim Ducks and you got to think the owners and the NHL are trying to get this rule changed in the new CBA. It just doesn't seem fair that you can draft a kid and after he grows as a player and becomes a stud in the college ranks he can just choose not to sign with you and picks where he plays. It's kind of a prick move and not many people were too impressed with his waiting game that brought shades of "The Decision" and Lebron James. He set some pretty high expectations for himself in the offseason with the signing drama, but right now is delivering so it's hard to say anything bad about him.

1 comment:

  1. Schultz is new and other teams haven't figured him out him. He will cool down.


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