JUSTIN SCHULTZ: FRAMING THE ISSUE

schultz common

The Edmonton Oilers love Justin Schultz. It’s obvious, made clear in all kinds of ways. The main one has to do with time on ice—Schultz has played more minutes this season than all but 50 NHL defensemen. Schultz has not delivered enough in those situations. What will the Oilers do?

TOI EVS, 2013-14 OILERS BLUE

  1. Justin Schultz 19:05
  2. Andrew Ference 17:48
  3. Jeff Petry 17:38
  4. Phil Larsen 16:33
  5. Martin Marincin 16:19
  6. Anton Belov 15:25
  7. Ladislav Smid 15:20
  8. Nick Schultz 14:29
  9. Mark Fraser 13:50
  10. Oscar Klefbom 13:32

Interesting to see who the coach actually values, isn’t it? When we discuss ‘best Oilers defensemen’ this season, it’s likely the answers will have a wide range. I’m onside with Petry, and yet Dallas Eakins—given the choice—would rather use Schultz for two additional minutes per game. Schultz also leads in total time on ice, time on ice per game, total shifts per game and length of shift.

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Justin Schultz is the Oilers top defensive option at even strength and on the power play.

justin schultz player card mar 30

Schultz is getting enormous icetime, his Corsi Rel for 5×5 % is 42.9 and that’s about three per cent worse than his mates. In summary, the Oilers have in effect taken a player who is not close to their best one and entrusted him with 19 minutes a night (or, one period per game at evens) to make a difference.

And this is his second season doing this, so we’re creating a scene that is value negative. We’re not 200 games into his career, but Justin Schultz has some issues as a possession player—and that should be an area of strength.

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SO?

petry capture

The Oilers have two RFA players this summer of note along the blue.

  • Justin Schultz (Annual average salary, including bonuses): $3,775,000
  • Jeff Petry (Annual average salary, including bonuses): $1,750,000

Petry signed a shorter term deal last night for a lower amount, and now that the bridge deal is over he’ll look to cash in. Schultz had a base salary of $925,000 this season, but it’s extremely unlikely Edmonton will be able to sign him for a reasonable number. Last September, Jonathan Willis looked at signing Schultz long term and came up with a 7-year deal at $4.75 million per season.

The article is here

Schultz has not enjoyed a breakout season and the actual dollar amount might be less, but how much less? If Edmonton wants to land a big time defender—let’s say Andrei Markov—to bridge the gap between the kids and the now, how much is too much?

And if they do land Markov, and sign Schultz long term for $4 million a year (I’m estimating here), then is there enough left for Petry?

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WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

hayek12

I’ve been operating under the assumption that Edmonton plans to proceed with Petry-Schultz as the RH side of their blueline. However, with Aaron Ekblad in their sights and a need to improve the LH side of the blue with a Markov (or Hainsey, or both), Jeff Petry may be the player who feels the squeeze.

Can the Oilers afford to sign both Schultz and Petry long term, while also adding a Markov and an Ekblad? I don’t think they can, and if it follows that Justin Schultz is part of the rebuild, where then does that put Jeff Petry?


  • 15w40

    I would say the only circumstance that Markov comes to Edmonton is on a massive overpay.

    A player in his position would likely rather be a bit contributor even a 12 to 15 minutes a night on a contending team than relied on heavily on an infinibuild scenario.

    The Oilers look primed to screw themselves out of Ekblad as well. The Sabres might pass on him but I can’t imagine the Panthers will.

    If the Oilers all of the sudden find a groove and string together even a .500 record in the last games they will probably surpass Florida on the draft chart.

    Schultz should not be an untouchable when they are searching for a proven top 2 defenseman or a heavier centreman. The most currency the Oilers have right now is in young defensemen.

  • 15w40

    IMO J Schultz is one of the few players on the team whose play has improved this year. Still a long, long way to go but he is only around 120 games into his career.

    If they can only keep one of Schultz or Petry, I would keep Shultz. A lot more upside and potential to his game.

  • 15w40

    They can not afford to deal or mess around with Petry. He’s in over his head right now as he’s expected to be the #1 or 2 in the absence of one right now, but there’s no question that he’s a good young d-man who would still be in the top 3-4 on many other NHL teams and we can’t really say that about any other guy we have right now.

    On many nights he’s still easily better than Schultz and it’s going to be one heck of a sticky issue for MacT to work with. If Schultz gets more money than Petry without the numbers to back it, you’re probably going to begin the process of souring that relationship. And of course, if you don’t give Schultz the money I suppose he would feel entitled to you start the process of burning that bridge too.

    Schultz needs another 2 year bridge contract if he wants big numbers and I’d be comfortable with Petry getting Smid’s contract to be honest.

    One thing for sure: management can not give Schultz more money in this situation. The last thing we need is another Tom Gilbert contract scenario.

  • 15w40

    Flushing Petry at this point right now would be a mistake in my opinion. If he was a necessary piece in a deal for an upgrade on the blueline then sure but otherwise it makes no sense to trade our best player at our weakest position. He’s not a top-pairing guy but he’s the best that we have right now. Which means we’ll probably trade him and continue to throw teenagers into the deep end and hope they learn to swim.

  • LT (or anyone else):

    Do you find it remotely plausible that, if EDM has to choose between Petry and Schultz (I’m not sure they do, but for the sake of argument), that they would choose to keep Petry, believing that (a) he’s the better player today, and potentially could remain so going forward (b) he’s likely to be cheaper since he’s unlikely to put up the point totals of Schultz and (c) Schultz may carry more trade value than Petry?

    • Spoils

      I believe that JS is going to be traded to the Flyers this summer. The Flyers blue line is so slow and cannot move the puck at all.

      The Oilers need a second line center in return. Philly has Giroux and Brayden Shenn as their 1-2. Coutourier is the guy they can afford to trade. The have Scott Laughton. They need a more reliable 2 way center on their 3rd line.

      I really think that come draft day JS is a Flyer.

  • Guy Lafleur

    i feel like Schultz is going to ask for more money than he deserves. He just seems like the type of player that cares about himself more than his team. He left Anaheim so he could get more minutes and more money somewhere else, and I’ve never once seen him stick up for his team mates. In fact i’ve seen him look the other way more times than i’d like to count. I think he’s going to be a great player and i’d sign him, but he needs to show some character.

  • Guy Lafleur

    I hate the thought of signing someone as old and crippled as Markov. He would be the 75cents to he dollar return or worst.

    Justin to me is plain and simply overrated. He can’t win battles in front or behind his own net. Puck retrieval he is scared to take a hit to retrieve it, maybe he is hurt. 3rd pairing PP specialist on a good team. He does have up side.

    Jeff is our best two way defense men. He gets little help or appreciation. Without him we would be worst.

  • 15w40

    Markov? You’ve gotten a soft head with that soft heart! The last old star we signed was a boat anchor. Then there’s the cautionary tale of Gonchar in Ottawa.

  • The Last Big Bear

    You guys are such worry warts.

    Lowe knows what he’s doing. If he offers a guy way too much money based on potential, and the guy doesn’t deliver, he’ll just do what he did with Comrie and ask for the money back.

    Its that kind of next-level thinking that got the brain trust the reputation they enjoy today.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Petry has drove me nuts this year, chasing/looking at the puck instead of covering his man in front of the net, causing more goals against than I care to count. Im not laying all the problems of this season on him hes just been a bog part of the problem imo.

    Shultz, same thing could be said about him at the beginning of the season, does seem to have leveled off the last month or so, more than Petry has.

    Comes down to the all mighty dollar, if one of them can live with a bridge contract for 2 yrs, ala Subban, then sign that guy and trade the other.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i’m OK if Petry gets moved. especially if we add Ekblad. Petry would get us the best return of all the defensemen we have not named Justin Schultz, who i suspect they will sign long term. problem is though, going with green d-men like Ekblad, Marincin and Klefbom, as well as a relatively inexperienced Schultz could not be the best situation to be in. with Ference already here, maybe we can replace Petry and Fraser with better upgrades either with a trade and/or UFA signing? just my opinion.

  • Guy Lafleur

    Maybe it’s just me, but by my eye Schultz has looked a lot more steady in the 2nd half of this season than the first half.

    At any rate, I think there’ll be plenty of room for both because I’m betting the Oilers will be spending the summer trying to overhaul the makeup of their top two lines, not so much chasing down that mythical “#1 dman” and paying him the amount of salary that would preclude Petry from being here.

  • Sevenseven

    Markov wants a 4 year deal. I think it is too long for a 35 year old defenseman, but the oil sure could use him. The oil are in a tough position with legitimate talent coming (Nurse, maybe Ekblad) and just breaking in, and no real talented veterans to show them the way. The Ference and Gagner dollar amounts might really bite Macts and really restrict his ability to fix the defense situation. To bad they love Schultz so much. I have a feeling he might get overpaid to stay here.

  • billythebullet

    Can oilers afford to sign both petry and Schultz?? Is that a real question?? The worst team in hockey might not be able to afford 2 of their dman?? Haha wtf!

        • pkam

          Since 2000-01, NYI made the playoff 4 times and lost all in 1st round. 2 GM in Mike Milbury and Garth Snow (not counting the 2 months of Neil Smith), and I believe they have 7-8 head coaches.

          Florida Panthers make the playoff once and out in 1st round. I believe they have 6 GM and 7 coaches.

          Winnipeg Jets (Atlantic Thrashers before 2011-12) made the playoff once and out n 1st round. I believe they have 3 GM and 6 coaches over the course.

          Oilers made the playoff 3 times and went to the cup final once. Have 3 GMs and 5 coaches.

          Not sure how you come up with the conclusion that the Oilers are worse than those 3 teams in this decade.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Why all the talk about prying weber or phaneuf out from their teams? Like they will be the big answer difference maker for what the cost would be. They are both currently on better teams than the Oilers and can’t lift those teams into the playoffs.

  • billythebullet

    Lets keep both. J.shultz is due for a bridge contract. not 6mill like the golden boys up front. Petry shouldn’t cost us a lot more then smid did, because lets remember, these r players struggling on a last place team, not eric karrlson or p.k subban. Just my opinion.

  • Guy Lafleur

    Why Markov ..hes skating on one leg , if not for PK covering his butt hed be back in the KHL .Hainsey another waste of money how is he an upgrade on ANY defenceman we have now ?? The only way to get legitimate help is to put a super package together and pry Weber outta Nashville or do something with Toronto and get DION .

  • The Last Big Bear

    So, typical oiler game. Will a stud defencemen be the priority this summer? What is the one thing the oilers could do that would have the biggest impact? They lack in so many. Another night of fast forwarding the game watching the opposition run up the score.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Justin Schultz should have a testicular enhancement surgery in the coming long off-season. Because of the utter lack of defence or physical component to his game I think he should make minimum wage. If the brain-trust think he is the next Coffey then they are on drugs. Another sissy college D man they don’t need. Move him. He is part of the reason our season is about to end early again. Sadly my sister has bigger balls than Schultz.

  • GoofyGoon69

    Neither player should break the cap, but if someone makes a silly offer for Schultz (highly unlikely based on this season) I would let him solicit other offers to see how the rest of the league values him just just like MacT should have done with Gagner last year. While Petry does not have the offensive ability, he is a much better all around d-man than Schultz.

    As far as upside goes, Schultz may have already shown us the best of what he has to offer. To be honest, he is better suited to the Eastern conference, or at least someplace other than the Pacific Division where he is too small, soft, and defensively challenged to capitalize on his “potential”. This team needs more than a PP specialist right now.

    I feel sorry for him, to be honest, as the organization played him up as the next Paul Coffey on the back end which meant he had to play in the NHL right away. Looking at how much better Marincin and even Klefbom are, he would have likely benefited from a season or two with Nelson on the farm before jumping into the big leagues (which is what a good organization would have done).