THE EDMONTON EXPRESS

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.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    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.

    • Spydyr

      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.

    • Cheap Shot Charlie

      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*.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    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.