Don’t Expect a Massive Payday for Justin Schultz

Jonathan Willis
July 08 2014 02:19AM

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Taylor Hall got $6.0 million per season coming out of his entry-level contract. So did Jordan Eberle. So did Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

By the sounds of it, Justin Schultz will not be joining the club.

Craig MacTavish talked to the media from Jasper on Monday, and after discussing the deal with Jeff Petry he was asked whether we could expect to see a similar announcement with regard to Schultz. His answer was illuminating.

“That’s still ongoing,” he said, before offering some optimism. “I think that both sides fully expect to get a deal. We want to treat Justin very, very fairly.”

Well, that sounds good for Schultz, right?

“He’s working his way through the system,” MacTavish said. “I guess at this point that’s probably the friction point. When you even compare him to guys on our team, where he fits in is not going to be entirely reflective of our value of him, it’s more a reflection of the system and where he is in the system.”

When MacTavish talks about where Schultz fits in, he must mean financially. In other words, he hopes the defenceman doesn’t take it personally when the Oilers pay him less than his high-profile teammates at forward.

Kid Gloves

Craig MacTavish2

But while the Oilers clearly seem to have a line they don’t want to cross in terms of payment, that doesn’t mean they want to alienate a player they see as a key piece moving forward. As evidence of that, MacTavish offered the team’s decision not to take Schultz to club-elected arbitration.

“We didn’t file,” he said. “The thinking there was that we didn’t want to go through that divisive process with [Schultz]. He’s very much one of our core players and the last thing we want to do is get into that type of relationship with a guy like that because he’s got huge upside.”

That’s a pretty decent rationale, but there’s another good one, too. Sportsnet’s Tyler Dellow put it plainly:

It’s pretty hard to put a number on defensive performance. It’s really easy to say, “yes, but POINTS!” and with Schultz leading the Oilers in average time on ice last season Edmonton would have some trouble arguing he was the disaster in his own end that he so often was.

Avoiding the route where the team hammers the player in front of the arbitrator and still ends up paying him money because he’s put points on the board seems like a smart route for the Oilers. We’ll see where the dollars come in on the final contract but from this vantage point the team’s resistance to just giving him the wunderkind special also seems like an intelligent way to proceed.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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 acesaaron
July 08 2014, 12:53PM
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@Serious Gord

KLowe would have taken Justin Schultz to arbitration just to remind him who is the "one who knows a thing or two about winning". He always seemed to have a big chip on his shoulder and wanted to drive that chip right down a players throat during a difference of opinion regarding contract, pay etc (Note the Comrie and Smyth fiascos). That is probably one of the main reasons Edmonton was viewed as such a bad place to play for the last 10 years.

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#52 Ed in Edmonton
July 08 2014, 12:53PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Drew doughty stepped up to the best in the world level TWO Olympics ago (and those who watched him play with the kings say he was top flite even before then).

Doughty is seven MONTHs older than Shultz. I think you will be waiting an awfully long time before Shultz dramatically steps up his game. What youre going to see isn't going to be much better than what you have already seen

I don't get what comparing Doughty with Schultz adds to the discussion.

Comparing even vey good Dmen with Doughty is difficult. Doughty is a very exceptional D-man who could excel in the NHL when he was what 19? At the same age Duncan Keith and Peterangelo were both still playing Jr.

I don't think anyone expects Schultz to be as good as Doughty, so what's the point of bringing him into the discussion?

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#53 acesaaron
July 08 2014, 12:59PM
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I also think that MacT should take a fairly diplomatic approach that there is a cap and this is a results based business. Didn't want to sign a contact before the end of the season? Well, there is a limited amount of money left now after the UFA period and the bar is now set with the Petry signing. Take it up with your agent Justin. And why do you think you justify such a high contract? Not an all-star or Norris candidate and the team is in 28th place last year. We shouldn't reward that performance with ludicrous contracts. Once again, MacT is likely basing his arguments on analytics but is mindful of the relationship he needs to keep with Justin as well.

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#54 acesaaron
July 08 2014, 01:02PM
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Spiel wrote:

If Schultz signs a bridge contract, it will be his bridge off the Oilers. Pay him or he leaves as soon as he can as a UFA. Kid wants to get paid. That's why he came here.

If that is the case, let him walk. The numbers say we can sign Jamie McBain and still do OK from a defensive perspective. He can get what's best for him in lots of places but not sure that will endear him to a team that wants to win...after all, isn't that part of the equation too??

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#55 clyde
July 08 2014, 01:06PM
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DieHard wrote:

The $3.775M per year was his cap hit which included bonuses. His actual salary was a lot less.

The bonuses were very easily attained. I would be very surprised if he got less than that. Remember back to his recruitment. Lots of promises made regarding ice time, etc and he has been called part of the core moving forward. Well, the other 3 in that core who are done their elc got 6 years at $6 million. No bridge deals there.

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#56 @Oilanderp
July 08 2014, 01:07PM
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Marc-Andre Bergeron: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=35604

Goals per game: 0.17
Assists per game: 0.31
Points per game: 0.48
PIMS per game: 0.44

Justin Schultz: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=113177

Goals per game: 0.16
Assists per game: 0.34
Points per game: 0.49
PIMS per game: 0.20

EDIT: This ignores Time On Ice, but know that Schultz is playing much more than Bergeron did. For example in 2003-04, (Bergeron's first half-season in NHL), he averaged 17:39.
In 2012-13 (Schultz's first half-season in NHL), he averaged 21:27.

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#57 backup bob
July 08 2014, 01:12PM
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The Oilers owe Justin. Treat him well.

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#58 nuge2nail
July 08 2014, 01:20PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

I agree, treat him well and other young dman will choose Edmonton given the opportunity.

Danny Dekeyser type defenseman will consider Edmonton the best option...

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#59 Zarny
July 08 2014, 01:27PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

And to be fair, both he and petry have been thrown into the deep end with out any on-ice mentors who are legit first liners thus learning/improving is more difficult. Perhaps this year with a bit more help - albeit still not 1st line quality - they can develop/improve at a satisfactory rate.

Isn't that the truth. Leaving kids exposed with no on-ice mentors or back-up is one of the fundamental flaws of the Oilers organization.

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#60 Noname
July 08 2014, 01:30PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

I don't get what comparing Doughty with Schultz adds to the discussion.

Comparing even vey good Dmen with Doughty is difficult. Doughty is a very exceptional D-man who could excel in the NHL when he was what 19? At the same age Duncan Keith and Peterangelo were both still playing Jr.

I don't think anyone expects Schultz to be as good as Doughty, so what's the point of bringing him into the discussion?

I don't get what the point in discussing it with other losers on a pointless message board does? Enhance your lives? So sad, you probalby wear jerseys out too...

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#61 Fresh Mess
July 08 2014, 01:49PM
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Zarny wrote:

Fair enough. At 24 I don't think Schultz has reached his physical prime, but he's not going to make the gains a 20 y/o would make over the next 2-3 years that is for sure.

I think the mental improvement though has a lot of upside. I do think there was improvement last year but how much is certainly debatable.

Which is why a bridge deal makes sense.

Too many fans here assuming Schultz will emerge into the player they fantasize him to be. He was awful for much of last season. He may become great or this may be all there is to him. We don't know yet.

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#62 Serious Gord
July 08 2014, 01:58PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

I don't get what comparing Doughty with Schultz adds to the discussion.

Comparing even vey good Dmen with Doughty is difficult. Doughty is a very exceptional D-man who could excel in the NHL when he was what 19? At the same age Duncan Keith and Peterangelo were both still playing Jr.

I don't think anyone expects Schultz to be as good as Doughty, so what's the point of bringing him into the discussion?

i didn't make comparison - someoneelse did.

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#63 Ed in Edmonton
July 08 2014, 01:58PM
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Noname wrote:

I don't get what the point in discussing it with other losers on a pointless message board does? Enhance your lives? So sad, you probalby wear jerseys out too...

Only my Bob and Ted MaCaneely ones.

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#64 Oiler Al
July 08 2014, 02:10PM
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Oilers want him to be Duncan Keith, but Schultz is more like Karlsson, who makes $6.5 million.

Give Schultz the lattitude that Karlsson gets in Ottawa, and he would put up Karlsson type numbers, or close to it.

Trouble is that Oilers never play to the players ability and are always trying to make them something they are not.

Play him with Fayne and let him run. He will score more points than the Nuge.

Can't we have at least one D-man who scores more than 20 points.

$ 5.25 for 6 years.

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#65 Zarny
July 08 2014, 02:40PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Which is why a bridge deal makes sense.

Too many fans here assuming Schultz will emerge into the player they fantasize him to be. He was awful for much of last season. He may become great or this may be all there is to him. We don't know yet.

Sorry, but Schultz was not "awful" for much of last year. He certainly needs to improve his defensive play but 33 PT is not "awful". That was actually good for 38th in D scoring last year. In the lockout season he was tied for 12th in D scoring.

To completely dismiss offensive production simply doesn't mesh with NHL reality. Points gets you paid. See Brian Campbell. And given his ice-time it's unlikely that Schultz' offensive production will drop.

This isn't about Schultz becoming great. I mentioned $4M for a longer term deal. $4M isn't what a great Dmen get paid. If Schultz becomes great he'll get $6-8M.

I agree we don't know exactly what Schultz will be yet but with 33 PT last year and 27 PT in 48 games during the lockout there is a pretty good indication offensively.

A 2 year bridge contract equal to Subbans would save the Oilers $2.25M over the next 2 seasons compared to a $4M longer term deal. They would have to resign him for $4.75M or less to break even over the following 3 seasons compared to a 5 yr $4M deal now.

Niskanen basically nabbed $5.75M off one 46 PT season. Given his offensive production and inflation due to the cap going up Schultz doesn't need to improve much to top $4.75M 2 years from now.

And if he does improve a lot the Oilers could have a very nice value contract on the roster.

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#66 Serious Gord
July 08 2014, 02:56PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Oilers want him to be Duncan Keith, but Schultz is more like Karlsson, who makes $6.5 million.

Give Schultz the lattitude that Karlsson gets in Ottawa, and he would put up Karlsson type numbers, or close to it.

Trouble is that Oilers never play to the players ability and are always trying to make them something they are not.

Play him with Fayne and let him run. He will score more points than the Nuge.

Can't we have at least one D-man who scores more than 20 points.

$ 5.25 for 6 years.

Equating Shultz to karlsson LOL.

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#67 Tikkanese
July 08 2014, 03:13PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Oilers want him to be Duncan Keith, but Schultz is more like Karlsson, who makes $6.5 million.

Give Schultz the lattitude that Karlsson gets in Ottawa, and he would put up Karlsson type numbers, or close to it.

Trouble is that Oilers never play to the players ability and are always trying to make them something they are not.

Play him with Fayne and let him run. He will score more points than the Nuge.

Can't we have at least one D-man who scores more than 20 points.

$ 5.25 for 6 years.

I hope he is Karlsson good someday but he is probably going to be more like Mike Green offensive numbers(in his healthy prime) minus the hitting.

Whatever happened to Schultz's "good stick defensively" that Stu "The Magnificent Bastard" Macgregor promised us? Probably went to the same place that Smid's "big slapshot" went.

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#68 Oiler Al
July 08 2014, 03:59PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Equating Shultz to karlsson LOL.

Just, saying he is more like Karlsson than Keith. With a stay a home partner he could jump up more often. Karlsson only had 26 points in his first season. Lets see where Schultz will be in five years.

We need more scoring from the D, period.

You might remember Coffey , he was that great on the backend either.

Manya fans here on the board wanted Oilers to acquire OEL, well we have one in our backyard.

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#69 Fresh Mess
July 08 2014, 04:52PM
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Zarny wrote:

Sorry, but Schultz was not "awful" for much of last year. He certainly needs to improve his defensive play but 33 PT is not "awful". That was actually good for 38th in D scoring last year. In the lockout season he was tied for 12th in D scoring.

To completely dismiss offensive production simply doesn't mesh with NHL reality. Points gets you paid. See Brian Campbell. And given his ice-time it's unlikely that Schultz' offensive production will drop.

This isn't about Schultz becoming great. I mentioned $4M for a longer term deal. $4M isn't what a great Dmen get paid. If Schultz becomes great he'll get $6-8M.

I agree we don't know exactly what Schultz will be yet but with 33 PT last year and 27 PT in 48 games during the lockout there is a pretty good indication offensively.

A 2 year bridge contract equal to Subbans would save the Oilers $2.25M over the next 2 seasons compared to a $4M longer term deal. They would have to resign him for $4.75M or less to break even over the following 3 seasons compared to a 5 yr $4M deal now.

Niskanen basically nabbed $5.75M off one 46 PT season. Given his offensive production and inflation due to the cap going up Schultz doesn't need to improve much to top $4.75M 2 years from now.

And if he does improve a lot the Oilers could have a very nice value contract on the roster.

You're right. I should have said 'beyond awful'

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#70 Zarny
July 09 2014, 10:40AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

You're right. I should have said 'beyond awful'

Try reality sometime...you'll like it.

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#71 Quack
July 09 2014, 04:32PM
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@Zarny

In 122 games Jultz is a minus 39. I would say beyond awful is based in reality

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