Justin Schultz: One-Year Deal?

Jonathan Willis
August 19 2014 07:00AM

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As the summer drags on, Justin Schultz’s status as a restricted free agent has become increasingly conspicuous. All of the Oilers’ other in-house business seems to be done, leaving Schultz as the last item on the internal to-do list.

Is a one-year deal the way to resolve the situation?

Stauffer

In the opening portion of Monday’s show, Bob Stauffer floated the idea of a one-year contract for Schultz:

Justin Schultz: don’t be alarmed, this is an easily rectifiable situation on a short-term bridge deal. Either one – and at this stage right now maybe a one-year deal might make the most sense – or possibly a two-year deal. I do think that Craig MacTavish, the Oilers general manager and his staff, were probably willing to investigate going longer, but I’m getting a sense that maybe Don Meehan’s group thinks ‘Hey, let’s do a short-term thing and see where Justin Schultz is at.’

He further cautioned that an impasse in negotiations is not necessarily reflective of a worsening relationship between team and player.

This is not a situation like what’s going on in Columbus, where there’s been virtually no discussion with Ryan Johansen’s camp and the Columbus Blue Jackets. I think the Oilers easily can get a one-year deal done on Justin. My guess is that Newport Sports would bet that the Oilers would make some form of improvement and that Justin Schultz’s numbers correspondingly would improve as a result and that would put them in a better bargaining position carrying forward.

A Way Out

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It’s not hard to come up with a pretty decent list of reasons why this negotiation would be complex.

First, Schultz is coming off a bonus-laden rookie contract; he’s not going to be thrilled with taking a pay reduction. Second, while he’s still struggling defensively he’s a guy with significant offensive ability – and even on the blue line, players with points tend to get paid. Third, he entered the organization in a unique way (unrestricted free agency at a very young age) and now has minimal leverage. Finally, he’s only played 122 NHL games; a season and a half.

Put it all together and Schultz’s camp has significant pressure not to take a long-term deal at a low-dollar figure while the Oilers have minimal incentive to send a bunch of money his way.

Bridge deals are often used to solve these kind of logjams. One year from now, Schultz should be sitting around 200 NHL games and just maybe we’ll have seen a full season from him as part of a reasonably competitive blue line. If Schultz shines, Edmonton can feel better about paying him; if he struggles he should be amenable to a lower-end deal.

One year - presumably at a number that starts with “2” - just might be the best solution for both parties.

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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#101 clyde
August 19 2014, 03:34PM
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Schultz was on pace to have a 50 point season as a rookie def. Last year he led the team in ice time and was their top scoring def. Nuge got paid and he doesn't even have a 20 goal or 60 point season yet. Oiler management set the bar by giving 3 guys mentioned as their Core the same yearly money after their first contract. Schultz has some warts but don't the other 3? If the team doesn't have him, who will run the point on the pp? Like him or not, he is a threat that other teams have to respect and this creates space for others. I don't know what kind of money he will get but can't blame him for trying to get paid right now. Management created this problem. Just wait until next year especially if Yak scores 20.

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#102 Oilfire33
August 19 2014, 03:35PM
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I like Shultz as long as he comes at a very reasonable price, he is a specialized player that will help on the pp, but is not reliable and scares me quite often. He will help get to the playoffs but won't be given much ice once there, then the oil will want to trade him in the off season due to a high contract and limited role, this whole thing is about the playoffs at the end of the day.

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#103 TigerUnderGlass
August 19 2014, 04:01PM
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Will wrote:

These negotiation comments are amusing. I think people believe that the organization is negotiating with Schultz. When really they are negotiating with his agent, who is doing his job and trying to get Schultz top dollar. I suppose end of day it's up to Schultz to accept or reject offers, but if the guy he's hired is saying, let me do my job and get you paid, what is any incentive does Schultz have to say no?

I really like tripping through cap geek, and I adore fantasy drafts that comply with cap rules, but sometimes I think fans might be better off if the financial information was kept under wraps.

An agent speaks on behalf of the player. They may not speak to him directly, but they are negotiating with Schultz by proxy.

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#104 TigerUnderGlass
August 19 2014, 04:02PM
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clyde wrote:

Never said they do or should but the first 3 in Edmonton did and Schultz must have similar expectations.

Why? Because the word "core" was used? How does that follow?

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#105 Harry
August 19 2014, 04:07PM
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IM80 wrote:

Scotty Bowman played Tomas Sandstrom on the 1st line with Steve Yzerman in the 1990's....does that disqualify him from forming an opinion on anything hockey related as well?

as a sidenote, how many packs of gum do you think Pat Quinn went through each game with the Oil?

Are you seriously comparing Thomas Sandstrom, a guy with 400 career goals and 850points to JF FREAKIN JAUQUES!!

Get a grip man!!

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#106 backup bob
August 19 2014, 04:08PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

I don't disagree with anything you state. But why MacT felt the need to publicly name his "core personnel" is also beyond belief.

Beyond belief? MacT praised his top players like all GM's do. Your making it sound like the ultimate sin.

Using your logic, don't tell Crosby he is good, and well sign him for less money.

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#107 Dan 1919
August 19 2014, 04:08PM
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clyde wrote:

Schultz was on pace to have a 50 point season as a rookie def. Last year he led the team in ice time and was their top scoring def. Nuge got paid and he doesn't even have a 20 goal or 60 point season yet. Oiler management set the bar by giving 3 guys mentioned as their Core the same yearly money after their first contract. Schultz has some warts but don't the other 3? If the team doesn't have him, who will run the point on the pp? Like him or not, he is a threat that other teams have to respect and this creates space for others. I don't know what kind of money he will get but can't blame him for trying to get paid right now. Management created this problem. Just wait until next year especially if Yak scores 20.

Well said, a few people are saying the contracts of Hall, RNH, and Ebs have zero impact on Shultz's negotiations. Those three contracts along with this off season's UFA signings I'd say are the main reasons why Shultz isn't signed already.

Overall I like what MacT has done, but I do think being so openly starry eyed over these young guys has been one of his shortcomings (along with not addressing Dubnyk earlier, those of us that watch hockey have known for years DD was not going to work).

Agreed Yak's situation should be interesting to watch. Hopefully he lights it up and 6mil will be fair for both sides, but if he has a solid season but nothing special will he expect 6mil like Nuge? Or maybe Nuge has a breakout year and separates himself completely of any comparison. Still plenty of scenarios that will impact Yak's contract, will be interesting to see.

(I know I'm an Oiler fan because I find ways to entertain myself thinking of how RFA's will sign a year down the road. Relying solely on their on ice game play just doesn't cut it.)

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#108 madjam
August 19 2014, 04:47PM
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Andy Greene of New Jersey a reasonable measuring stick for Schultz . Greene has one year left @3.0 (capgeek)-3.5M depending on the site . He has signed for 5 years @ 5M/season. His totals for last season were 32 points in 82 games vs. Schultz at 33 points in 73 games . One could hardly argue Schultz is as defensively sound as Greene . Value of Schultz at this stage markedly below Greene I would think .

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#109 Old time oil fan
August 19 2014, 07:17PM
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Zarny wrote:

Here is the thing though...Schultz isn't a UFA.

If PK Subban was a UFA 2 years he would have got a lot more than a 2 yr bridge @ $5.75M. Kadri would have gotten a lot more from the Leafs. Johansen would likely get 7 yr @ $6M/yr from someone. Ryan O'Reilly would have gotten more too.

Welcome to being an RFA in the NHL. The support group meets every third Wednesday of every second month.

It's silly to suggest the Oilers are trying to strong-arm Schultz into a 1 year deal. From the Oilers perspective a 2-3 year deal would be preferable for the simple fact that the face-plant to start last season put a stank on all things Oilers last year.

The Oilers could finish 27th with 77 PT next year and Schultz' cons would likely still look better than last season and it's highly unlikely his pros (TOI and points) take a hit putting him in a better bargaining position.

Not to mention Schultz couldn't walk anywhere after 1 year because he'd still be an RFA.

Some people just don't get it. Are you related to Kblowe? The Last Big Bear has hit the nail on the head. The oilers overpaid every D-man they signed this year and then when it comes to signing the one guy who actually chose the oil over many other teams they try to screw him just because they can. It's no wonder we have been the worst team in the league for 8 years and counting. If we continue to operate like a no class circus we will never attract desirable players. Just cause you can screw a guy it doesn't mean you should. Gee, I wonder why we couldn't attract any free agent centers?

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#110 Shaun
August 19 2014, 07:27PM
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I think a 2 yr 3 million dollar deal is fair

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#111 Smokey
August 19 2014, 07:52PM
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sportsjunkie007 wrote:

Today's tip: if a word is underlined after you have typed it, it's misspelled. If you don't know how it should be spelled, try Googling it. Google will normally offer the correct spelling as an option.

Your spelling doesn't have to be perfect for you to get your thoughts across, but it does hurt your credibility when you start with a series of visible errors.

Im not looking for credibility. Just scroll past if it bugs you. Im not writing an article. And its a blog. I like breaking da rules.

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#112 Zarny
August 19 2014, 11:00PM
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Old time oil fan wrote:

Some people just don't get it. Are you related to Kblowe? The Last Big Bear has hit the nail on the head. The oilers overpaid every D-man they signed this year and then when it comes to signing the one guy who actually chose the oil over many other teams they try to screw him just because they can. It's no wonder we have been the worst team in the league for 8 years and counting. If we continue to operate like a no class circus we will never attract desirable players. Just cause you can screw a guy it doesn't mean you should. Gee, I wonder why we couldn't attract any free agent centers?

Trying to screw him?

Good grief, give your head a shake.

First, The Last Big Bear is a Flames fan and will trash whatever deal the Oilers end up signing Schultz to.

Second, Schultz isn't entitled to anything. Based on his performance on the ice he will be well compensated. He will get ice time out the whazoo, lots of PP minutes and every opportunity to improve and make boatloads of cash.

That isn't screwing a guy. Quite the opposite actually.

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

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#113 Rickithebear
August 20 2014, 09:48AM
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A rye morning wrote:

Why are you so interested in box protection? Are you buying a chastity belt?

Have you seen "In praise of older women"

"chastity" never heard of it!

the league average shooting % is 8.5%.

Lange studied shot results by Distance.

Greater than 25 ft 8.5 to 2% success

25 to 5 ft (box/Chance area) 8.5 to 25%

Shots outside the box average well below league.

Shots inside the box average weel above the league.

We want D men who have a hiher % of shots outside the box area. In the 20-26% range. Rather than 29 to 35%.

Pair these kind of D with a top 7 Save% goalie inside 25ft and you end up with 5 of the ten best EVGA dmen in the game and 6 in the top 30. OH and 2 Stanley cups!

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#114 JBear
August 20 2014, 10:31AM
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@Old time oil fan

Those were UFA's. You have to overpay UFA's to come over to Edmonton. They may have overpaid a little, I'll give you that but for now it fits into their cap plan. As for Schultz, he is a RFA so his options are limited. Schultz may have had the most ice time but he was far from impressive last year. Heck, I'd say Marincin out-performed him.

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#115 Joy S. Lee
August 20 2014, 10:55AM
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@Rickithebear

Your post sounded interesting, and I think I "got" most of what you were saying, but I couldn't find the English translation button...

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#116 Old time oil fan
August 20 2014, 03:09PM
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Zarny wrote:

Trying to screw him?

Good grief, give your head a shake.

First, The Last Big Bear is a Flames fan and will trash whatever deal the Oilers end up signing Schultz to.

Second, Schultz isn't entitled to anything. Based on his performance on the ice he will be well compensated. He will get ice time out the whazoo, lots of PP minutes and every opportunity to improve and make boatloads of cash.

That isn't screwing a guy. Quite the opposite actually.

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

It would just be a shame for the Jultz story to end ugly. The fact that this is taking so long make me think that the Oilers are low balling because keeping him happy with a reasonable offer means nothing and grinding him to get the cheapest price possible means everything. Although his RFA status does not entitle him to the Oiler overpay every other d-man got it so what is one more? We have the cap space. He chose to come here and this entire city was ecstatic when he did. Hoping this was the start of a trend. I'm not saying go crazy and give him anything he wants but if managed right there is a lot of good will to be earned here which may keep a "potential" star in this city for years to come. Imagine that? I'm just hoping that Kblowes ego is not influencing the MacT negotiations because if it is this will probably end in the typical Oiler way. Another lost opportunity. And another win as the worst managed team.

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#117 Quicksilver ballet
August 20 2014, 04:34PM
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@Old time oil fan

It'd difficult to have a discussion with Zarny. In his world he's always right. [Zarny] quote: Schultz isn't entitled to anything.

He's not entitled to the money affiliated to the points he puts up or the minutes he plays, end of story. Let only his mistakes be the basis of his new deal.

I'm with you on Justin Schultz. He shouldn't be at all affected by Zarny's mob rules GM'ing.

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