One of the ways we can evaluate rookie players is by comparing them to players of the past. In the case of Justin Schultz, finding rookie comparables might be a problem. Why? Justin Schultz is unique.

Justin Schultz has played 4 NHL games now and is among the league’s top 30 defensemen in time-on-ice (ranks 28th this morning in the NHL among D, 24:02 per game). Among rookie defensemen, the numbers are impressive:


  1. Justin Schultz, Edmonton 24:02
  2. Matt Irwin, San Jose 19:07
  3. Jonas Brodin, Minnesota 19:05
  4. Brian Lashoff, Detroit 18:06
  5. Brendan Smith, Detroit 18:04

That’s a big number, 24 minutes a night. To put it in some perspective, only four Oilers defensemen have averaged 24 or more minutes a night in one season since 2005 and they did it only 6 times: Ryan Whitney 10-11 (25:20); Tom Gilbert 10-11 (24:30); Ryan Whitney 09-10 (24:45); Sheldon Souray 08-09 (24:50). Sheldon Souray 07-08 (24:20); Chris Pronger 05-06 (27:59).

That’s some impressive company. It’s early, but the young man is unlikely to play less than he is now, and as the season wears along it is possible he’ll add penalty-killing to his EV and PP minutes.


In historic terms, the Edmonton Oilers are an upstart club. Most teams with their history have won their 5 Stanley’s over an 80 or 90 year span; we’ve been spoiled since 1979-80 compared to the rest of the hockey world.

In spite of the Stanley’s, the Hart’s, the Smythe’s, no Oiler has ever won the Calder, emblematic of the top NHL rookie each season. They’ve been close–the NHL made up a silly rule to rob Gretzky, Kurri and Arnott’s brilliant debut’s were overshadowed by others, and more recently Hall and the Nuge were injured and unable to win the prize.

The Oilers have two genuine hopes this season. Nail Yakupov, who has scored 2 goals and is as famous as any rookie since Crosby courtesy being a #1 pick and the most famous celebration in regular season history, has a real chance to win it.

And Justin Schultz has a better one. He is 4, 2-3-5 and ranks 2nd in scoring among all NHL defensemen, leading rookie blue by two points (Boston’s Dougie Hamilton–another outstanding rookie–has 3 points). Among all rookies, the defenseman trails only Vladimir Tarasenko and Cory Conacher (who have 7 points each) and he leads all NHL rookies in time-on-ice.



There is still so much to be revealed–but its already clear we’re talking about something quite special in regard to Justin Schultz. The Oilers acquired exactly what they needed, and Schultz landed in an ideal spot for him.

It is, quite frankly, a perfect fit.

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      Yeah it’s painful watching him. The vets have not done their jobs yet. The kids are showing up as advertised. Belanger’s been pretty good but Smyth and Horcoff has not impressed me at all. Horcoff seems slower out there and Smyth at times has looked like he’s not even in the game at all.

      Edit– I love boobies. Thanks LT

  • Alsker

    Schultz has been a bright spot. With all the penalty we are yet to see the Oilers play a complete game. The Oilers have been stuck in 3rd gear this year.

    I wonder if there’s going to be some line shake-ups next game, and if Leaguers going to keep letting Gagner get destroyed in the FO dot.

  • Alsker

    Its early in the season yet but JS has brought what he was doing in the AHL and continued it with success in the NHL…definitely appears to be the real deal now if Klefbom heals and is what everyone says he is we have most of our D taken care of…Oh getting to watch Coffey in the 80s Schultz seems to popsition himself very much the same with one stride hes in the slot or peels to blueline…we havent had that here since..ummm..oh ya the 80s..good read as always Lowetide

  • Shultz gives us 4 on the rush. It will be a while before teams adjust. Could be a 30 point year for Shultz.

    Yak has found chemistry with Gagner. Yak has shown flashes of brilliance.

    Montreal loses Pacioretty for 3 weeks. Lars Edler a top 6 guy? Subban still unsigned. Another week of stalemate with Subban combined with a couple of losses may see a move by Montreal to obtain a top 6 forward. Is there a deal to be had with Montreal for Subban who would fit just niely here in Edmonton. 2 First round picks this draft? Hemsky healthy. Lots of options if your Montreal wanting to make a deal. They’ll get value. But how long will Montreal’s new GM’s patience be when/if the losses start to accumulate. If I am Montreal fan I am asking myself also this question. Where the hell is Rene Bourque?

    Will Toronto make a move this week for a top 6 forward?

    Ryan Jones certainly would help the Oilers 3rd line right about now.

    Teemu Harty needs to be returned to OKC as soon as Jones is healthy.