I think I might be beginning to understand why 30 teams wanted this Justin Schultz kid.
From just after Christmas onwards last year we started hearing that a certain
Mighty Ducks prospect was getting closer to an impasse with Anaheim. The rumblings started to get louder and then Edmonton started getting mentioned in the same breathe as Schultz.
Naturally, things started to get pretty exciting here in yeg. But even still, I’m a fan of the Edmonton Oilers and (Keeping in mind I was 8 when the Oil last won a Cup) if I know one thing it would be Disappointment. This is the team that has traded every Captain in team history and finished dead last for 2 years in a row and came close a 3rd time. If every team in the league really wanted Justin Schultz then someone else was gonna get him. Those are the facts.
But the strangest damned thing happened. All that speculation turned out to be spot on. Anaheim pleaded with him until the last minute and 29 other teams came knocking on his agent’s door. The list was narrowed and at the end of the day the Edmonton Oilers won the rights to have Justin Schultz play defense for their club. This was especially nice because it shut up all the people whining and bitching about having drafted another Forward in Yakupov (Who is lighting up the KHL with his laser beam one-timers).
He was a good defensive prospect but the hype machine wasnt going into overdrive, in part due to a looming lockout, in part because we all know defensemen take forever to develop. Schultz was still young, had never played a minute of pro hockey. Quite honestly, my opinion of the NCAA isnt very high. So when someone is ripping that league up I just assume the wheels will fall off when they hit the AHL or the NHL.
5 games into the AHL season and Justin Schultz’s wheels havent fallen off. Everything they said this kid was good at has been bang on. He has smarts, he has wheels, he can shoot, he has offensive prowess, and he isnt even all that bad in his own zone. As of right now Schultz has been named the AHL player of the week, is tied for the League scoring race, is 2nd in the league for goals, tied for 2nd in assists, is 1st in shorthanded goals, is 3rd in +/-, and leads the Barons in shots on net.
HE’S A DEFENSEMAN.
He has had a point in every game he’s played in and the chemistry he has with Nuge and Ebs is remarkable.
I think we might have a player on our hands here.