THE EDMONTON EXPRESS

Lowetide
April 18 2013 09:03PM

As the end of a brilliant, trying season nears its end, the American Hockey League gave out the first of what should be several awards to young Oiler Justin Schultz. The "Eddie Shore" Award--named after the "Edmonton Express"--has never been given to a rookie defender before this season.

Schultz was outstanding in OKC, with 18 goals and 30 assists in just 34 games, topped off with a plus-8 rating. His performance in Edmonton after the lockout ended was very strong, but the long season and those 30 minute AHL games have taken their toll. Here's Schultz numbers by month:

  • January: 7, 3-2-5 +2
  • February: 12, 3-4-7 -6
  • March: 15, 0-4-4 -7
  • April: 8, 1-4-5 -6

Schultz is -15 since Valentine's Day and his game has become wildly inconsistent. As talented as this young man clearly is, the offseason can't come soon enough.

IS THERE A CONCERN?

Playing NHL defense when everything is right is hard enough, playing on an empty tank must be a very difficult thing to do. Schultz has played big minutes all year long (21:33 a night in Edmonton, my bet is much more in OKC) and has remained healthy and from this angle there's been a lot of try.

The learning curve, the longer season, playing on a team that is struggling too--it all adds up to a tough finish to an outstanding rookie season. All things considered, the future looks bright.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Looking back, perhaps Schultz TOI should have been monitored more closely when he was in the AHL, but that's quibbling. The coach played his best and surely Eddie Shore would have loved the big minutes from the rookie. And maybe that's what we should take away from this season--the Shore award is awarded to the AHL's best defenseman--full stop.

Justin Schultz showed he belongs in the NHL--and that at least part of this season was an education. No sin there, that's what rookie seasons are for, to learn on the job.

I think Justin Schultz is the best young defenseman to land in Edmonton in a long long time, and worthy of an award named after the original Edmonton Express, Eddie Shore.

High praise indeed.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 DSF
April 18 2013, 10:55PM
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bored wrote:

I think Brodin is a stud...Would love him on the Oilers. I also really like what I saw from JS, he makes me happy.

Comparing them is stupid. You would have to be blind to not be excited to have either one on your team. Knowing how good Crosby is doesn't make Hall any less good.

That being said, he's definitely not perfect. He may be Jack Johnson today, but I feel like with his hockey IQ and natural ability, his ceiling is Sergei Zubov who just happened to OWN the Oilers for a very long time.

You realize there is also an even chance that he has the hockey IQ of Cam Barker, right?

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#52 Slats
April 18 2013, 10:56PM
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The reality is Schulz has real talent - offensive instincts that are amazing, good hands but he is still a rookie. He needs to be paired with a good stay at home dman and a team in a 5 on 5 system that is better than what we have shown. This Zone-Pressure-Gapping system is crap!

We are lucky to have signed him especially when many other more well positioned clubs wanted him - including his own Draft club.

Is he tired? Physically? Probably not - but mentally fatigued from the his first (half) season + the AHL, I would say he is.

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#53 Citizen David
April 18 2013, 11:07PM
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DSF wrote:

I recall Lowetide comparing Schultz to Bobby Orr...I laughed.

But not as hard as when he compared Sam Gagner to Doug Gilmour...I peed myself...and it wasn't planned.

It really is time that Oiler fans took a step back and took a close look at what they actually have before thinking they can trade their chaff for actual NHL players.

Schultz is a decent offensive defenseman who doesn't have a clue in his own end.

Anyone who can't see that isn't paying attention.

Winning an AHL award is great and all but bear in mind that Jason Krog was an absolute AHL stud and there are numerous other examples of players who could excel at that level but failed when the rubber hit the road.

Schultz may well figure things out but until, or if, he does, he's a smaller, weaker Jack Johnson.

There is no evidence to the contrary.

None.

There is no definitive evidence to say Schultz will become a great defenseman in his own zone. But there is no difinitive evidence against it either. Called small sample size. To early to tell.

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#54 DSF
April 18 2013, 11:10PM
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Citizen David wrote:

There is no definitive evidence to say Schultz will become a great defenseman in his own zone. But there is no difinitive evidence against it either. Called small sample size. To early to tell.

Agree completely.

But until the evidence emerges, he is a liability.

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#55 madjam
April 18 2013, 11:13PM
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Schultz has done well being a first year pro , and looks good going forward . With Klefbom expected to make roster next season do we really need more draft picks to develop for now ? We have enough now to try and develop . Unless we win lottery , I expect they might trade that pick in some manner . We need players to surround our youth with already , not more youth at this stage .

Have some fun and play GM revamping core outside the present failing one , for that looks like the way we intend to go . Leave the AHL players in AHL to develop another year

We'll probably draft 7-8th , and I would not mind going up to 20-30 if it helps get a major piece to play for us now . How important is our low first round pick in the grand scheme of things as they are now, if he can not make an immediate impact ?

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#56 Citizen David
April 18 2013, 11:16PM
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DSF wrote:

Agree completely.

But until the evidence emerges, he is a liability.

I'm fine with that. Tyler Myers looked like a stud his first season. Then the wheels came off. But who knows maybe he'll get back on track. We just don't know until we know. But I'm a koolaid drinking rose colored glasses Oilers fan so next september I'll probably be predicting Schultz wins the Norris. And if he doesn't? Doesn't bother me. Go Oilers!

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#57 madjam
April 18 2013, 11:17PM
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DSF wrote:

Agree completely.

But until the evidence emerges, he is a liability.

Deja vue - P.Coffey much admonished early for defensive work . Schultz should get much better - not like he has hit his maximum yet.

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#58 Dub t
April 18 2013, 11:20PM
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madjam wrote:

Schultz has done well being a first year pro , and looks good going forward . With Klefbom expected to make roster next season do we really need more draft picks to develop for now ? We have enough now to try and develop . Unless we win lottery , I expect they might trade that pick in some manner . We need players to surround our youth with already , not more youth at this stage .

Have some fun and play GM revamping core outside the present failing one , for that looks like the way we intend to go . Leave the AHL players in AHL to develop another year

We'll probably draft 7-8th , and I would not mind going up to 20-30 if it helps get a major piece to play for us now . How important is our low first round pick in the grand scheme of things as they are now, if he can not make an immediate impact ?

I would look to trade klefbom for a dman a year or two older that is ready for the nhl. Klefbom likely needs a year or two of ahl seasoning.

I also wouldn't trade our first this year. Good chance to get a high end centre or dman. I'm personally not a fan of trading firsts at all (unless you're packaging it and getting a star). It's good to have the cupboards full with top end prospects developing especially with prospects like pitlick and Hamilton looking unlikely to be impact players in the nhl.

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#59 Citizen David
April 18 2013, 11:22PM
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If I'm the Oilers GM I trade Eberle for a stud defenseman. Or the Gagner + Paajarvi + first round pick or whatever the heck the trade would be. Bottom line is our defense is WEAK. Until we improve the back end it will be hard for this team to move forward. If we could add a top pairing defenseman, and then add a puck mover like Ryan Ellis while ditching Whitney and Nick Schultz, then our team would do a lot better.

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#60 Slats
April 18 2013, 11:25PM
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@DSF

I really think a better comparison isnt Krog but rather the '04 - '05 winner and Kronwall.

Boxcars are virtually the same in the year of winning the EDMONTON EXPRESS TROPHY (actually projected Schulz's are twice that of Kronwall but I like Niklas and think he"s a "good average" NHL dman)

Things are looking bright for Jr.

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#61 DSF
April 18 2013, 11:26PM
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madjam wrote:

Deja vue - P.Coffey much admonished early for defensive work . Schultz should get much better - not like he has hit his maximum yet.

Oh here we go.

Now its Coffey.

Coffey's worst defensive season as an Oiler was a +4 in his rookie season.

When he was the same age as Schultz he scored 40G 86A 126P +52.

Mentioning those two players in the same sentence is punishable by death.

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#62 DSF
April 18 2013, 11:31PM
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Slats wrote:

I really think a better comparison isnt Krog but rather the '04 - '05 winner and Kronwall.

Boxcars are virtually the same in the year of winning the EDMONTON EXPRESS TROPHY (actually projected Schulz's are twice that of Kronwall but I like Niklas and think he"s a "good average" NHL dman)

Things are looking bright for Jr.

Kronwall?

Very different players.

Kronwall is a tough as nails defensive defenseman with some offence.

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#63 Slats
April 18 2013, 11:38PM
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DSF wrote:

Kronwall?

Very different players.

Kronwall is a tough as nails defensive defenseman with some offence.

Oh yeah but Justin is still filling out only 185 and 6'2" - and he has a nasty streak both were 23 when they won as well.

It's like looking into a mirror.

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#64 bored
April 18 2013, 11:39PM
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DSF wrote:

You realize there is also an even chance that he has the hockey IQ of Cam Barker, right?

I think he's demonstrated a greater capacity than Barker, however that's not a great benchmark. He has good offensive instincts and needs to improve defensively, which from experience is easier to do than the opposite of having good defensive instincts and trying to add offence.

At this point, it is fair to say that the Oilers were given a gift when they were able to sign him, and he can contribute to a winning team even if he hasn't had the opportunity to prove that. For me, he falls in to the Hall, RNH, Eberle, and Yak category of guys you would have to completely overpay to take away from us.

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#65 BoJangles
April 18 2013, 11:58PM
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@DSF

So are you saying the Oilers should get rid of Schultz?

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#66 Dog Train
April 19 2013, 12:11AM
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No small feat considering he hasn't played an AHL game since January. Schultz will be fine, he has been overworked this season and it's natural for a college player to wear down near the end of his first pro season. His offense is obviously an asset but he does need to learn when to hold them and when to fold them. This isn't the AHL anymore and bad pinches as well as jumping in the rush at the wrong times will burn you in the big league.

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#67 GVBlackhawk
April 19 2013, 12:11AM
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DSF wrote:

Point is, Burrows doesn't need to play with the best to be an actual NHL player who can keep his head above water.

Kesler was 23.

As for Junior, I'm not sure what you think "great offensive numbers" are.

Erik Karlsson put up 78 points as a 21 year old.

In that ballpark?

And the point is, playing with good players makes you better. Burrows has not put up very good numbers without Henrik Sedin or Bryan Kesler centering him.

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#68 dougtheslug
April 19 2013, 12:16AM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

J Schultz looks lazy in his own zone, no one is going to deny that, but he is a rookie. This is what rookie seasons are for. How many players peak during their rookie seasons? Esp defensemen?

Brodin is a good D-man, playing with a very good D-man in a very structured, established system suited for D-men.

Also being tired isn't a lame excuse, from 40 games a season against college players to 78 games playing 20-25 minutes a night against professionals, it does take adjusting, look at Conacher, 18 points in his first 20 games, then 7 in the next 20. He played in 36 AHL games before the NHL season started.

I wonder what that says about Yak, who seems to be trending in the opposite direction. Seems to be gaining strength and smarts each game as the rest of the team staggers to the finish line. Hopeful sign?

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#69 oilfan in yyc
April 19 2013, 01:00AM
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Why does DSF come to this site, go back to studying for your junior high exams. Karlsson won the Norris but didn't deserve it, great offensive numbers, no defence, playing protected minutes. Shultz will be a much better all around defenseman.

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#70 Walter Sobchak
April 19 2013, 05:31AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I wonder what that says about Yak, who seems to be trending in the opposite direction. Seems to be gaining strength and smarts each game as the rest of the team staggers to the finish line. Hopeful sign?

I think you hit it right on. If you go by 5 game segments the amount he has learned and improved upon is impressive.

I can't help but think with his ability to pick the NHL game up quick that he's going to be a very good hockey player come year two and three.

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#71 Chet134
April 19 2013, 06:35AM
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DSF wrote:

Jonas Brodin, who is 3 years younger than Schultz, plays 23:08 per game and is +7 to Schultz's -17.

Justin Schultz is Jack Johnson.

Lots of PP production and a terrible adventure at evens.

Mmmm let's think. Brodin has Suter to mentor and play with plus minny plays much more of a defensive style. He has also played in the swedish elite league which is professional hockey. Schultz came from university hockey, plays with Schultz who really is a third pairing defenseman on a good team and our players hasnt bought into the coaches. Your expectations on Schultz are way too high. Really he should be playing 15 min a night. Minny is a playoff team and we aren't close. bring in a number one defenseman and then judge.

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#72 Hammers
April 19 2013, 07:28AM
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Don't understand why they won't send him down at season end . Yea his young and tired but that goes with the territory .He should go if OKl make it .

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#73 Serious Gord
April 19 2013, 07:35AM
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Dsf makes some good points. Rookie season or not it has been a Shakey one - especially as he's a 23 yr old rookie.

My one concern not mentioned so far is his lack of (or little use of?) a big shot from the point. It seems to me that the other teams know this and pressure him a lot more on the point as a result.

But the jury is out - needing more evidence before delivering a 'no doubt' verdict. If he is another Johnson at least oil fans can console themselves that a whole bunch of other teams thought he was the bees knees too.

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#74 oilabroad
April 19 2013, 08:29AM
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DSF wrote:

Oh here we go.

Now its Coffey.

Coffey's worst defensive season as an Oiler was a +4 in his rookie season.

When he was the same age as Schultz he scored 40G 86A 126P +52.

Mentioning those two players in the same sentence is punishable by death.

pissed off at myself for being caught up in the troll net, but this statement shows your ignorance. Paul Coffey was almost ran out of town early in his career, any offense whatsoever was overshadowed by atrocious play in his own end... Slats skewering him in the paper was a daily occurence at that time and there was plenty of trade talk. You are clueless if you think his +4 at that time made him some kind of defensive dynamo... I know you get asked this daily, but seriously, why are you here??

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#75 geoilersgist
April 19 2013, 09:01AM
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This is for you DSF http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/04/19/the-hidden-offensive-game-of-oilers-rookie-justin-schultz/

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#76 ubermiguel
April 19 2013, 09:58AM
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When was the last time any Oilers or Oilers-prospect won an individual award?

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#77 Jprime
April 19 2013, 10:36AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Of the 71 comments before this one 41 were either by or to DSF.

It has ruined the comments section.Please stop feeding the troll.

This is Oilers Nation not DSF nation.

What he said.

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#78 Team Seguin
April 19 2013, 10:59AM
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I agree with the ban DSF statements. So J Schultz is a lousy dman? That's why 30 teams wanted him?

I don't like the doughty comparisons, but the guy is good, no question. It's his rookie year in the NHL, doesn't matter what his age is, he has to learn the NHL. Karlsson took a few NHL seasons to figure it out too.

Please MacT, don't trade Ebs, Nuge, Hall, or Yak.

the rest is fair game, but don't trade those pieces or you will get owned.

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#79 Spydyr
April 19 2013, 11:17AM
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Team Seguin wrote:

I agree with the ban DSF statements. So J Schultz is a lousy dman? That's why 30 teams wanted him?

I don't like the doughty comparisons, but the guy is good, no question. It's his rookie year in the NHL, doesn't matter what his age is, he has to learn the NHL. Karlsson took a few NHL seasons to figure it out too.

Please MacT, don't trade Ebs, Nuge, Hall, or Yak.

the rest is fair game, but don't trade those pieces or you will get owned.

I'm not for banning DSF or anyone for that matter.

What I'm suggesting is stop feeding the troll.People ask him questions like he is some sort of expert.He is not .He is a person with too much time on his hands who has become jaded and bitter at the Oilers management.Who can really blame him for that.

Let him make his statements he has as much right as anyone here to do that.Just be the bigger person and let them go.Don't get drawn into his trap and that is what it is a troll trap.

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#80 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 19 2013, 12:46PM
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@Pucker - B class

Personally, I love DSF. It's annoying when all the posts are directed to him when the article could sparks stimulating conversation. But in cases, like this one, where it's more of a "Here's some interesting information for all fans" article fewer posts get put up and he offers some funny points of view and gets some guys going.

However, I do like the idea of making a website of "Sh!tDSFsays". I'm glad I don't have enough time on my hands to make it but I'd visit it every once in a while.

I love DSF like I love Sean Avery, the Wildrose party or Paris Hilton - if their weren't people saying stupid things who would care about hockey interviews, politics or poodles in hand bags.

Stupid is as stupid does and it's hilarious!

DSF, you deserve a *HUG*.

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#81 Swift Young Fox
April 19 2013, 01:47PM
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Justin Shultz is a good rookie defenseman and I hope he gets even better and helps the Oilers win.

You can compare him to Orr, Brodin, Bieksa or even a bag of pucks. I don't care. Justin Shultz is Justin Shultz. Let's cheer for him as an Oiler.

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#82 Time Travelling Sean
April 19 2013, 01:55PM
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@Spydyr

Sorry :c

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#83 Pucker - B class
April 19 2013, 02:00PM
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Cheap Shot Charlie wrote:

Personally, I love DSF. It's annoying when all the posts are directed to him when the article could sparks stimulating conversation. But in cases, like this one, where it's more of a "Here's some interesting information for all fans" article fewer posts get put up and he offers some funny points of view and gets some guys going.

However, I do like the idea of making a website of "Sh!tDSFsays". I'm glad I don't have enough time on my hands to make it but I'd visit it every once in a while.

I love DSF like I love Sean Avery, the Wildrose party or Paris Hilton - if their weren't people saying stupid things who would care about hockey interviews, politics or poodles in hand bags.

Stupid is as stupid does and it's hilarious!

DSF, you deserve a *HUG*.

I don't mind him hanging around either.

He shouldn't be fed though.

A negative props button would be great for sorting.

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#84 TigerUnderGlass
April 19 2013, 02:01PM
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@DSF

Alex Burrows had a a 25 goal season BEFORE he played with the Sedins.

This is false.

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