The Edmonton Oilers sent defenseman Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a third round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The Oilers will also retain half of Schultz’s remaining salary for the rest of the season.
Schultz is only 25 years old but has struggled in Edmonton. He has a good offensive game, but his defensive game still needs a lot of help. The Penguins are hoping that a change of scenery is good for the young defenseman. He’ll add speed to the Penguins’ blue line and will also add some offense. In 45 games played this season, he has three goals, seven assists, 10 points and is a -22 while averaging 20:08 of ice time per game. In 248 NHL games, Schultz has 28 goals, 73 assists, 101 points, is a -18 and an average 22:09 of ice time per game.
The defenseman can act as a fourth forward out on the ice at times. Schultz has really good offensive zone instincts, which is supported in his having 45 power play points in his career. He is a mobile defenseman that can skate his way out of trouble and he will put up the points in the offensive zone. Schultz is an inconsistent player especially on the defensive side of the ice. His defensive game needs help and that is somewhat reflected in his plus/minus stats, but that doesn’t tell the whole story since the Oilers haven’t had the best goaltending.
Schultz has his fill of turnovers during a game, but he also is on the ice a lot. He can play a lot of minutes, if needed, by the Penguins or he can be used as a third defensive pairing guy. The Penguins can even put him on the power play since he played on the man advantage with the Oilers. He’s going from a team that was in the bottom of the league to one that is right in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Penguins have a three-point lead over the Flyers and Devils for the final wild card spot. The annual deadline deal by the Penguins to help them down the stretch wasn’t a big one this year, but rather a depth move that didn’t cost them a lot.
Schultz is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The Penguins can get a look at what he brings to the table the rest of the season, and decide on whether they’ll resign him or let him go in free agency.