Is Jake Gardiner’s five-year extension a fair comparable for Justin Schultz?

Jonathan Willis
July 30 2014 10:38AM

19-Schultz-2

On Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs shifted course dramatically on defenceman Jake Gardiner, signing the former University of Wisconsin standout to a five-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4.05 million.

In Edmonton, meanwhile, Justin Schultz remains unsigned. Could he sign a contract comparable to the one his ex-Badgers teammate just inked?

The Comparison

Jake Gardiner is a 6’2”, 184-pound puck-moving defenceman who turned 24 on July 4, and was originally selected by the Anaheim Ducks early in the 2008 Draft.

Justin Schultz is a 6’2”, 188-pound puck-moving defenceman who turned 24 on July 6, and was originally selected by the Anaheim Ducks early in the 2008 Draft.

So far, so good.

Gardiner averaged 18:10 at evens, 2:16 on the power play and 0:37 on the penalty kill for Toronto last season. Schultz posted 18:55 at evens, 3:26 on the power play and 0:58 on the penalty kill in Edmonton. Schultz got the bigger push, but the usage was similar. Schultz’s offence is better than Gardiner’s – there are lots of ways to express this, but 60 points in 122 games vs. 65 points in 167 games is good enough for our purposes.

On the other hand, Gardiner’s Relative Corsi rating has consistently been good, and while he’s had a zonestart push he has outperformed it. In other words, Toronto has out-shot the opposition by more than we would expect with Gardiner on the ice if Gardiner were an average defenceman on the team. Schultz’s Relative Corsi rating has not been nearly as good, and while he hasn’t had the same zonestart push that Gardiner has, that doesn’t make up the difference. Even measured against a terrible Oilers’ blue, the team gets out-shot with Schultz on the ice by more than the average.

But even that’s hardly conclusive. Schultz has been welded to Andrew Ference and Nick Schultz for pretty much the entirety of his NHL career; Gardiner has had Cody Franson and Luke Schenn. I don’t think the world of Schenn, but do consider Franson to be the best player on that list of four by a considerable margin.

In short, these guys are close; if I had to commit to one and only one for the next five seasons I don’t know which I’d choose.

The Range

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Tyler Dellow wrote about other comparables for Schultz a few weeks back, and noted six defencemen on long-term deals in the $4.0 million range:

With the exception of Hedman, who skews the list, most of these guys look to me like they were reasonably in the range of Schultz and Gardiner when they signed their long-term deals.

I don’t think $20 million or so over five years is a bargain price for a player like Schultz, but I also don’t think it’s a contract that the Oilers are going to deeply regret. At that rate, if he’s a decent second-pairing guy the team will be okay; right now that takes a bit of projection on our part but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation. From Schultz’s perspective, it’s not the Hall/Eberle/RNH deal, but it’s probably as much money as he can reasonably expect at term.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 HardBoiledOil
July 30 2014, 03:26PM
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Schultz will likely get roughly the same as what Gardiner got.

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#52 Will
July 30 2014, 03:39PM
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Zarny wrote:

@Will

Richards didn't say it was the best deal he could get on a competitive team. He simply said he took less in term and money specifically for Chicago.

How competitive the other teams are that offered more only Richards, his agent and the teams know. But he still had 20 G and 51 pt last year.

That's better production than Grabovski last year who signed for $5M/yr. It's silly to think the best Richards could do was $2M/yr. He clearly took a lot less to sign with 1 of 2 teams that has 2 Cups in the last 5 years.

Hmmm, well B's are over the cap, Philly is over (not that they've won a cup in the last 5), LA needed to resign King and Gaborik and really between Kopitar, Carter, Stoll, and Richards, where would Richard play? Detroit is looking at Zetterburgh, Datsuyk, Weiss, and Alferdson down the middle. Pens have Crosby, Malkin, Suter. San Jose has Thorton, Cotuier, and Hertl, and St. Louis has Steen, Burglund, Stasny, and Backus.

Who are these cup contending teams offering Richards a better than 1 year at 2 mill per deal? Let's go tier 2 contenders: Colorado couldn't even keep Stasny and took O'Reily to arbitration so I doubt they came to the table with a big offer. Dallas picked up Spezza, and already had Eakin, Horcoff, and Fidler. Hmm running out of 'conteders'.

The Islanders grabbed Grabovksi to play somewhere in the line up with Tavaras, Neilsen and Bailey. The Rangers were the one who bought him out in the first place. The Lightning picked up Boyle for third line behind Stamkos and Kilorn. Nashville, who I don't consider a contender I guess could have offered a better deal. The Capitals maybe, but they only have about 1 mill in cap space left so I can't see them coming to the table with a deal better than 2 mill. Montreal seems pretty set with Plekanec, Eller, and Galchenyuk. Minni, ha! Anaheim grabbed Kesler and lost both Perreult and Bonino, so maybe they wanted Richards for 3rd line duty?

So what does that leave? Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Arizona, Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Toronto, Buffalo, and Columbus. Scratch Florida and Columbus based of their centre charts. So of those teams left, I guess he could have gotten a better than 2 mill per year deal on the perennial cup contending Hurricanes, Coyotes, or Canucks?

Richards must have jumped at the chance for 1 year at 2 mill with Chicago.

Basically Richards could say whatever he wants, fact is he was not worth the money on his big free agent contract, got bought out by a team that favored more invested players, and likely thanked the Gods a team like Chicago had room for him. Though after the double deuce contracts they gave to Toews and Kane, money says they have no room for Richards next year, at least not at 2 mill.

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#53 Zarny
July 30 2014, 03:50PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Ah yes, I was looking at his previous (2011-12) season when I said he was a plus player, my bad.

My point was that Brodie was not just some schlub when he signed his bridge contract. He was playing big minutes in the NHL at a very young age, and was performing very well during those minutes.

Schulz is more proven than Brodie was when he signed his bridge deal, but that's not necessarily a good thing given that his already questionable defence hasn't really improved by leaps and bounds.

You are right, of course, that points will get you paid in the NHL, regardless of anything else.

I was simply pointing out that $4m+ long-term deals are not the only comparables for a young big-minutes defenceman. Players who are just as good or better than Schultz have signed bridge deals recently.

This is not always a good thing for the team, of course...

Edit - As I understand it, Corsi stats are not admissable in Arbitration cases, and I think they are under-weighted in contract negotiations in general.

Only box stats and situational TOI are admissable for abitration.

Yeah, as I understand it Corsi stats (advanced stats) aren't admissible in Arbitration cases and I would think are under-weighted in contract negotiations still given some hockey people still think it's hocus pocus.

Which was really my point. I certainly wasn't trying to suggest Brodie was a scrub when he signed his bridge; he simply hadn't produced offensively which (again right or wrong) counts in the NHL so I don't think he'd be a good comparable for Schultz.

Like I said, I think whether Schultz signs a bridge or a longer term contract isn't too concerning for Edmonton. Maybe you pay a bit more after a bridge if his defense improves. Maybe he is a bit overpaid at $4M if his defense doesn't.

I don't see a bridge biting Edm like Subban in Mtl and I don't see a longer term deal at $4M being an anchor if they go that route.

I do think inflation is something to consider though. Until star players take max contracts the mushy middle will continue to get overpaid. If the cap spikes a lot $4M for Schultz in 2-3 years might look like a bargain.

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#54 A-Mc
July 30 2014, 04:02PM
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Zarny wrote:

Absolutely Gardiner's extension is a comparable for Schultz. If Schultz signs a longer term extension it will be for ~ $4M per season.

I agree $20M over 5 years won't be a real bargain unless Schultz' defense significantly improves but it also won't be an anchor.

Like it or not, Schultz' offense is there...60 pt over 122 games equates to 40 pts over a 82 games. In the NHL, points gets you paid.

One thing to consider is inflation. The cap is going up. PK will likely get north of $8M this year so the bar will get raised and since NHL stars don't take max contracts middling players get overpaid.

Which means even if Schultz' defense doesn't improve significantly over the next 2 years you probably won't be getting him for less than $4M per season after a bridge and it could be more.

The Oilers are in a good spot. The risk with a bridge contract is you pay a bit more next extension. The risk with a longer term deal is Schultz doesn't quite live up to the contract but he has no leverage above $4M.

In both cases the risk is low. It's unlikely he'll ever under perform $4M by a lot given his offense but he probably won't over-perform and cost $7M in 2 years either.

Exactly.

Call me crazy but i think the Oilers need to go long term on Schultz, if they can snag him for around 4M.

NHL teams are spending MONEY these days: if schultz gets a bridge deal, i could see us having to pay him 6+ in 2 years. I say sign him for 5yrs+ at 4m/yr and thank your lucky stars you got him before the crazy had completely set in. (It's already started).

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#55 Zarny
July 30 2014, 04:03PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Also, just because I have them handy:

http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/5G9BMW9H4?:display_count=no

http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/FBCZ39TY4?:display_count=no

Oh yeah, no arguing the advanced stats.

Luckily for Schultz his Vollman sledgehammer is inadmissible for negotiations. The play that leads to it though is.

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#56 bwar
July 30 2014, 04:10PM
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I kind of hope he gets offer sheeted and we let him walk.

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#57 The Soup Fascist
July 30 2014, 04:13PM
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Zarny wrote:

Oh yeah, no arguing the advanced stats.

Luckily for Schultz his Vollman sledgehammer is inadmissible for negotiations. The play that leads to it though is.

So what happens to the "defensive defenseman" who goes to arbitration?

What can be used by the player to support his case if most advanced stats are inadmissable? Blocked shots? Hits? TOI? That pretty much covers it. I guess plus minus but if you are a D man on a bad team you are really in trouble.

I am trying to think of one who went to arbitration lately and I can't. I guess I am answering my own question. Defensive defensemen get screwed.

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#58 Ivan Drago
July 30 2014, 04:35PM
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Will wrote:

He got more points than Phanuef who gets paid 7 mill, the same points as Erhoff who got a 1 year 4 mil contract (why didn't the Oilers get that guy again?), but he got less points than oh heck Cam Fowler who just got a shiny new 4 mill per for the next ever years. If they can make him swallow a bridge deal great, otherwise pay him 4 mill for as many free agent years as possible. Cause in 2 years time, 4 mill for a defenceman who can put up 30 - 40 points (and hopefully actually defend) is going to be the mother of all bargain contracts.

Personally I think if Petry didn't have to take top pairing minutes and face nothing but insane competition, he'd easily be a 30 - 40 point guy. But that might be dreaming. Here's hoping Schultz takes a big step forward this year, and if Petry does get traded, it's either for a legit second line centre (who is this mystery person?) or for Boychuck (bigger, more points, better defender, tough and mean as rusty nails, surprisingly soft spoken, plays on the right side, has chemistry with Ferrence, but is 30).

The Oilers didn't sign Erhoff because he didn't want to come here. He signed with the Penguins as soon as he could. Quit trying to pin crap like not getting certain players at MacT's feet. I'm sure the obvious FA's that could've helped the team, MacT talked to, but this is Edmonton, we aren't winning the cup in the next few years, so older guys aren't coming here with no chance to win.

Steve Ott told Gregor the exact same thing, that's why he didn't sign here either, he wants a chance to win, thus signing with the blues, but I'm sure you'll find a way to blame MacT for that too.

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#59 Will
July 30 2014, 05:41PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

The Oilers didn't sign Erhoff because he didn't want to come here. He signed with the Penguins as soon as he could. Quit trying to pin crap like not getting certain players at MacT's feet. I'm sure the obvious FA's that could've helped the team, MacT talked to, but this is Edmonton, we aren't winning the cup in the next few years, so older guys aren't coming here with no chance to win.

Steve Ott told Gregor the exact same thing, that's why he didn't sign here either, he wants a chance to win, thus signing with the blues, but I'm sure you'll find a way to blame MacT for that too.

Not pinning anything at Mac T's feet. Though, you know, it is kind of his job to make the team better. Whether free agents think they want to come here or not. A difficult job to be sure, but that is his job.

However, more just joking about Erhoff than anything. But since we're on the subject I think Mac T has done a pretty decent job given the team he took over and the holes he needed to plug. Perron, Purcell, Poulliot, Scrivens, Fasth, Drasiatl, Fayne, and Nikitin, make a much better team dynamic than Magnus, Smyth, Hemsky, Gagner, Dubnyk, Labarbra, Nick Schultz, and Belov.

That is a major upgrade in just 2 years, and made our team bigger and more experienced. I hope he gets another 2nd line centre, but if not I'm confident the team is deep enough on the wings to insulate our thin centre. As mentioned in a previous post, a top line of Perron, Nuge Purcell, followed by Hall Arco Ebs is pretty good. Or you could throw perron down on the 3rd line and do Hall Nuge Yak followed by Poulliot Draisaitl Eberle. Lots of possibilities.

But, we've needed a top two centre and a big skilled centre for seemingly ever. It would be a bit stupid to think in this confrence the team is suddenly good enough to make huge strides. But maybe.

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#60 Spydyr
July 30 2014, 06:06PM
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Give him a couple reasonable options one short term one long term.If he rejects both trade him.

One thing to remember in this scenario is I actually like defencman that protect their goalie not look to the ref.Shultz is softer than butter on the sidewalk today.

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#61 The Real Scuba Steve
July 30 2014, 06:11PM
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bwar wrote:

I kind of hope he gets offer sheeted and we let him walk.

Yeah, that's going forward to better our team. We have a hard time aquiring players with his speed as it is.

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#62 Harlie
July 30 2014, 06:51PM
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Pey thet man, hiz money.

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#63 Zarny
July 30 2014, 06:52PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

So what happens to the "defensive defenseman" who goes to arbitration?

What can be used by the player to support his case if most advanced stats are inadmissable? Blocked shots? Hits? TOI? That pretty much covers it. I guess plus minus but if you are a D man on a bad team you are really in trouble.

I am trying to think of one who went to arbitration lately and I can't. I guess I am answering my own question. Defensive defensemen get screwed.

Do they?

Willie Mitchell signed for $4.25M and made $3.5M the previous 8 seasons. That's pretty good scratch for a guy who has topped 20 pt twice and whose career year is 24. Engelland signed for $2.9M. Fayne signed for $3.625M. Matt Greene's career year is 15 pt and he got $2.5M. Mark Stuart in Wpg is getting $2.625M. Scuderi gets $3.375M in Pit.

Defensive specialists seem to be doing OK.

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#64 John Kirsch
July 30 2014, 07:07PM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

Schultz will likely get roughly the same as what Gardiner got.

I am good with that number both players are electric. Jake is one of the most talented albeit "flaky" player I have seen in a while. Only time will tell if they both become true 1-2 D-man. Would have loved to see Jake in an Oiler uni I think Carlyle et al. missed the boat last season in not giving him proper PP time.

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#65 HardBoiledOil
July 30 2014, 07:41PM
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@Will

"perennial cup contending Canucks"? not no more!!

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#66 Chunkylover69@google.ca
July 30 2014, 08:02PM
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I love pronger. That is the type of big, mean talented defensmen I like. Defense/jerk first. Darnell nurse forever. Schultz is a super talented skilled fella but just not my type. Having said that, 4mil for 5 is fine in my books. His type of play is coveted by many teams and a trade down the road if need be I believe will fetch us a fair return. Not my type but I appreciate his beauty.

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#67 Danoilerfanincalgary
July 30 2014, 08:03PM
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Some very good compatibles there and it sounds like both sides want to get it done. We do not want to start losing players for any reason our lack of depth has kept this team from improving.

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#68 Oil Vice
July 30 2014, 08:15PM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

The salary structure is hockey is so out of whack. In the other team sports, big stars get the big bucks and the supporting cast take a smaller chunk. How anyone can think either Gardiner or Schultz are worth anything close to $4 million is delusional.

But that's the problem with todays hockey. Medium level players are overpayed because they play responsible, don't make mistakes, stop your opponents from scoring (in other words, safe and boring). Where is the creativity, the risk taking part of the game. It doesn't exist anymore. The league caps what the top players can make, which is a huge mistake.

Not really great timing to vent that topic when referring to Schultz....exciting things happen at both ends of the ice when he's out there

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#69 Bruins fan
July 30 2014, 08:22PM
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Will wrote:

He got more points than Phanuef who gets paid 7 mill, the same points as Erhoff who got a 1 year 4 mil contract (why didn't the Oilers get that guy again?), but he got less points than oh heck Cam Fowler who just got a shiny new 4 mill per for the next ever years. If they can make him swallow a bridge deal great, otherwise pay him 4 mill for as many free agent years as possible. Cause in 2 years time, 4 mill for a defenceman who can put up 30 - 40 points (and hopefully actually defend) is going to be the mother of all bargain contracts.

Personally I think if Petry didn't have to take top pairing minutes and face nothing but insane competition, he'd easily be a 30 - 40 point guy. But that might be dreaming. Here's hoping Schultz takes a big step forward this year, and if Petry does get traded, it's either for a legit second line centre (who is this mystery person?) or for Boychuck (bigger, more points, better defender, tough and mean as rusty nails, surprisingly soft spoken, plays on the right side, has chemistry with Ferrence, but is 30).

Why would Boston trade Boychuk for Petry? Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, McQuaid, Hamilton, and Krug are all better than Petry.

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#70 camdog
July 30 2014, 08:26PM
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Zarny wrote:

Do they?

Willie Mitchell signed for $4.25M and made $3.5M the previous 8 seasons. That's pretty good scratch for a guy who has topped 20 pt twice and whose career year is 24. Engelland signed for $2.9M. Fayne signed for $3.625M. Matt Greene's career year is 15 pt and he got $2.5M. Mark Stuart in Wpg is getting $2.625M. Scuderi gets $3.375M in Pit.

Defensive specialists seem to be doing OK.

Did you just call Engelland a defensive specialist, more of a meat grinder, not? lol

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#71 Quicksilver ballet
July 30 2014, 08:41PM
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It's decision time for MacTavish and Justin. A make or break time as far as neck on the line GM's types go.

A confident GM would make that difficult decisions sooner rather than later. We've seen more than our share of the far too late variety with the Hemsky and Gagner types in recent years. Making a tough decision now on a player such as Schultz, while his value is still close to it's peak right now. Takes a lot of balls to act on your own personal opinion on where you feel a players possible performance ceiling tops out at.

Should be interesting to see if Craig acts on that instinct, or hangs onto him believing he'll reach those levels of expectation.

Zarny, what would you do, based on your opinion of him as of today?

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#72 Quicksilver ballet
July 30 2014, 08:48PM
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camdog wrote:

Did you just call Engelland a defensive specialist, more of a meat grinder, not? lol

Some media types have mentioned we've witnessed the death of the defensive defenseman in todays game in recent years.

The Oilers (Mark Fayne) obviously never received that email.

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#73 @Oilanderp
July 30 2014, 08:51PM
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Harlie wrote:

Pey thet man, hiz money.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jUBbCgMWmE

Agreed.

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#74 camdog
July 30 2014, 08:53PM
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Bruins fan wrote:

Why would Boston trade Boychuk for Petry? Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, McQuaid, Hamilton, and Krug are all better than Petry.

Boychuk's 30 and a UFA after this season, they don't have the money to keep him. Boychuk's played a lot of tough minutes, he's bound to lose a gear in the next couple of years. That Bruins defence could use a mid level experienced defenceman with some speed to compliment the others in the rotation. And McQuaid wouldn't even be top 6 in Edmonton, never mind him being better than Petry.

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#75 Bruins Fan
July 30 2014, 09:16PM
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camdog wrote:

Boychuk's 30 and a UFA after this season, they don't have the money to keep him. Boychuk's played a lot of tough minutes, he's bound to lose a gear in the next couple of years. That Bruins defence could use a mid level experienced defenceman with some speed to compliment the others in the rotation. And McQuaid wouldn't even be top 6 in Edmonton, never mind him being better than Petry.

I should say the Bruins and Oilers are my two favorite teams, so I'm not being biased here. The Bruins could have dumped Boychuk and kept Iginla. The fact that they let Iginla walk, tells you they think highly of Boychuk. I hope the Oilers upgrade on D, but I don't think it's coming from Boston.

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#76 HardBoiledOil
July 30 2014, 10:55PM
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^true, if they'd wanted to keep Iginla, they'd have found a way.

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#77 Rigger in van
July 30 2014, 11:01PM
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Will wrote:

Hmmm, well B's are over the cap, Philly is over (not that they've won a cup in the last 5), LA needed to resign King and Gaborik and really between Kopitar, Carter, Stoll, and Richards, where would Richard play? Detroit is looking at Zetterburgh, Datsuyk, Weiss, and Alferdson down the middle. Pens have Crosby, Malkin, Suter. San Jose has Thorton, Cotuier, and Hertl, and St. Louis has Steen, Burglund, Stasny, and Backus.

Who are these cup contending teams offering Richards a better than 1 year at 2 mill per deal? Let's go tier 2 contenders: Colorado couldn't even keep Stasny and took O'Reily to arbitration so I doubt they came to the table with a big offer. Dallas picked up Spezza, and already had Eakin, Horcoff, and Fidler. Hmm running out of 'conteders'.

The Islanders grabbed Grabovksi to play somewhere in the line up with Tavaras, Neilsen and Bailey. The Rangers were the one who bought him out in the first place. The Lightning picked up Boyle for third line behind Stamkos and Kilorn. Nashville, who I don't consider a contender I guess could have offered a better deal. The Capitals maybe, but they only have about 1 mill in cap space left so I can't see them coming to the table with a deal better than 2 mill. Montreal seems pretty set with Plekanec, Eller, and Galchenyuk. Minni, ha! Anaheim grabbed Kesler and lost both Perreult and Bonino, so maybe they wanted Richards for 3rd line duty?

So what does that leave? Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Arizona, Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Toronto, Buffalo, and Columbus. Scratch Florida and Columbus based of their centre charts. So of those teams left, I guess he could have gotten a better than 2 mill per year deal on the perennial cup contending Hurricanes, Coyotes, or Canucks?

Richards must have jumped at the chance for 1 year at 2 mill with Chicago.

Basically Richards could say whatever he wants, fact is he was not worth the money on his big free agent contract, got bought out by a team that favored more invested players, and likely thanked the Gods a team like Chicago had room for him. Though after the double deuce contracts they gave to Toews and Kane, money says they have no room for Richards next year, at least not at 2 mill.

I think you should read up on your hockey news, there is way to many mistakes in your argument. And spell check the players names as well.

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#78 K_Mart
July 30 2014, 11:29PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Hall and Co. don't play defence, and there's no real reason to believe at this point that Schultz is a better player than Jake Gardiner.

Maybe it's just me, but if he wants a long-term contract rather than a bridge deal (and I suspect a long-term commitment in the perceived interests of both sides) I wouldn't pay him a penny more than what Gardiner got.

I wouldn't pay him more either... but I have a feeling MacT will. Looking at the Gagner contract of 4.4M makes me wonder.

The circumstances and players are completely different, but MacT talks like his value of Schultz is higher than the player's actual value.

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#79 camdog
July 31 2014, 06:52AM
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@Bruins Fan

Boston's one of my favourite teams as well. Boychuk's a pretty loyal guy, maybe he signs for a discount.

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#80 Zarny
July 31 2014, 08:24AM
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camdog wrote:

Did you just call Engelland a defensive specialist, more of a meat grinder, not? lol

Ha! There is a strong case for your argument.

I included him because he certainly doesn't provide any offense.

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#81 1983 and This Year
July 31 2014, 08:47AM
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Chunkylover69@google.ca wrote:

I love pronger. That is the type of big, mean talented defensmen I like. Defense/jerk first. Darnell nurse forever. Schultz is a super talented skilled fella but just not my type. Having said that, 4mil for 5 is fine in my books. His type of play is coveted by many teams and a trade down the road if need be I believe will fetch us a fair return. Not my type but I appreciate his beauty.

I don't know what I liked more -- your comment or your user name. I wish I could props twice.

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#82 pkam
July 31 2014, 09:51AM
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I don't understand why hockey fans think Schultz should get what Gardiner gets.

Just ask yourself, if Schultz signs the same 20.25M contract with us, will you trade Schultz for Gardiner straight? I'll be pretty sure the Leafs will.

Remember 3 or 4 years ago when the Leafs traded with the Ducks, the Leafs wanted Schultz but end up with Gardiner because the Ducks wouldn't part with Schultz? So both the Leafs and Ducks valued Schultz higher than Gardiner.

And don't forget, Gardiner is left handed and Schultz is right handed. We all know there are more left handed defensemen than right handed so the additional value.

In 2010-11, they both played for University Of Wisconsin and if I am correct, they were linemates. And Schultz had better stats than Gardiner, although in their draft year 3 years ago Gardiner was a better player. And Schultz has been the better of the two since then, IMO.

Schultz got 27 pts in 48 games, prorated to over 50 pts in 82 games in his rookie year. His number dropped this season and I have no idea how much of that was to do with Eakins. Can you imagine what he will worth if he scored 50 pts this season?

If you think Gardiner's contract is reasonable, I will gladly sign Schultz to 4.25M for the same term.

He is going to play with a better partner and better assistant coaches the next 2 years, it would be a stupid idea to sign a 2 year bridge contract now as I expect his number is going to sky rocket.

So I prefer longer term (7-8 years) at 4.5-5.0M seeing how fast the salary goes up in the past 2 years. Just wonder how much would the Habs save if they signed PK to 6 years at 5.5M 2 years ago.

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#83 Will
July 31 2014, 10:33AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

"perennial cup contending Canucks"? not no more!!

It was sarcasm.

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#84 Will
July 31 2014, 10:37AM
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@Rigger in van

Such as: I mean, technically I suppose the Avs avoided arbitration but they were the ones that filed. The Kings did resign their players. I suppose Alferdson has yet to resign, but my guess is he will.

Spelling I will give you, but I really am not going to put in the time to go spell check each name. It's just a comment section on a hockey Blog, not an academic paper.

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#85 Zarny
July 31 2014, 01:52PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It's decision time for MacTavish and Justin. A make or break time as far as neck on the line GM's types go.

A confident GM would make that difficult decisions sooner rather than later. We've seen more than our share of the far too late variety with the Hemsky and Gagner types in recent years. Making a tough decision now on a player such as Schultz, while his value is still close to it's peak right now. Takes a lot of balls to act on your own personal opinion on where you feel a players possible performance ceiling tops out at.

Should be interesting to see if Craig acts on that instinct, or hangs onto him believing he'll reach those levels of expectation.

Zarny, what would you do, based on your opinion of him as of today?

I disagree that it's make or break time for MacTavish with Justin Schultz. I actually think it's the complete opposite; the Oilers are in a great position.

I think it's silly to suggest Schultz' value has peaked. The holes in his defensive game are expected given he has played all of 122 NHL games and has consistently played with less than stellar partners. They only seem acute because the Oilers consistently throw kids in over their head. His defense will improve; the unknown is by how much.

With the comparables listed locked in ~ $4M the Oilers have all the leverage. Which is one reason they should consider a longer term deal. In 2 years, they may not have all the leverage and the comparables could be higher.

If I was actually the Oilers GM, my preference would depend significantly on knowing Justin Schultz the individual. How competitive is he? How focused is he? What are his training habits? What are his lifestyle habits? How aware and dedicated is he to improving his deficiencies?

I know none of that so I can only focus on the financial risk of 2 yr bridge vs a longer term deal. Overall though, we're not talking about a grand canyon of difference between a 2 yr @ $2.8M bridge and 5 yr @ $4M.

The risk of a longer term deal is he under performs the contract. His detractors like to focus only on his defensive shortcomings but he has 60 pt in 122 games which equates to 40 pt a year. Like it or not, that has value. That's just reality. If he under performs $4M/yr over the next 2 years it probably isn't by much. I think the worst case scenario is he only plays up to $3M/yr so the risk overall is ~ $2M.

The risk of a bridge contract is that it takes a lot more money to resign him in 2 yrs. They could save $2.4M ish over the next 2 years which means they would have to resign for $4.8M for the following 3 years to break even over a 5 year period.

Niskanen turned 46 pt last year into $5.75M/yr. Schultz wouldn't be a UFA in 2 yrs but he'd only have 1 RFA year left and with inflation that could be the number he gets after a bridge with improved defense. It's not impossible he improves beyond that but I think that's a reasonable upper end for expectations. So the risk overall is ~ ($5.75M - $4.8M) x 3 = $2.85M.

$2M vs $2.85M...the risk is pretty much equal. I think once you get to years 3-5 the risk is significantly lower that Schultz under performs $4M so unless there were red flags I'd lean towards a longer term extension similar to Gardiners.

I wouldn't criticize a bridge deal though especially if it comes in lower than $2.8M/yr.

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#86 Serious Gord
August 01 2014, 12:28AM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

The salary structure is hockey is so out of whack. In the other team sports, big stars get the big bucks and the supporting cast take a smaller chunk. How anyone can think either Gardiner or Schultz are worth anything close to $4 million is delusional.

But that's the problem with todays hockey. Medium level players are overpayed because they play responsible, don't make mistakes, stop your opponents from scoring (in other words, safe and boring). Where is the creativity, the risk taking part of the game. It doesn't exist anymore. The league caps what the top players can make, which is a huge mistake.

Excellent observation.

The only way this changes is if the rules change to make the game far more offense-minded. Dramatically reducing the size of goalie equipment - IOW return it to where it was in the early seventies - with just the bare minimum required for safety - would go a long way to doing that.

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#87 Serious Gord
August 01 2014, 12:30AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It's not fair, perhaps, but a huge mistake? The thing to keep in mind is that at the top end - the Crosbys and the like - the NHL has no league that can consistently compete in terms of dollars (only a very few KHL teams can afford that kind of cash).

The threat is to those medium-level NHL'ers, because the KHL can compete dollar-wise for them. So having a cap that inflates salaries to medium-level players is actually not a bad way to keep as much talent as possible in the league.

Valid point.

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#88 Quicksilver ballet
August 01 2014, 10:46AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Excellent observation.

The only way this changes is if the rules change to make the game far more offense-minded. Dramatically reducing the size of goalie equipment - IOW return it to where it was in the early seventies - with just the bare minimum required for safety - would go a long way to doing that.

Shipcanning all the systems play would help matters as well. Tilting the ice surface to deter offense is paramount.

It's easier to teach marginal players to prevent goals than it is to have them to score them. Talent and creativity don't rule todays game anymore. It's which team executes their system better each evening that is up for grabs.

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#89 Tikkanese
August 01 2014, 02:30PM
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@JW You missed the comparison of their NCAA stats since they played on the same team there. IIRC even those were quite similar.

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