Is Jake Gardiner’s five-year extension a fair comparable for Justin Schultz?

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On Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs shifted course dramatically on defenceman Jake Gardiner, signing the former University of Wisconsin standout to a five-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4.05 million.

In Edmonton, meanwhile, Justin Schultz remains unsigned. Could he sign a contract comparable to the one his ex-Badgers teammate just inked?

The Comparison

Jake Gardiner is a 6’2”, 184-pound puck-moving defenceman who turned 24 on July 4, and was originally selected by the Anaheim Ducks early in the 2008 Draft.

Justin Schultz is a 6’2”, 188-pound puck-moving defenceman who turned 24 on July 6, and was originally selected by the Anaheim Ducks early in the 2008 Draft.

So far, so good.

Gardiner averaged 18:10 at evens, 2:16 on the power play and 0:37 on the penalty kill for Toronto last season. Schultz posted 18:55 at evens, 3:26 on the power play and 0:58 on the penalty kill in Edmonton. Schultz got the bigger push, but the usage was similar. Schultz’s offence is better than Gardiner’s – there are lots of ways to express this, but 60 points in 122 games vs. 65 points in 167 games is good enough for our purposes.

On the other hand, Gardiner’s Relative Corsi rating has consistently been good, and while he’s had a zonestart push he has outperformed it. In other words, Toronto has out-shot the opposition by more than we would expect with Gardiner on the ice if Gardiner were an average defenceman on the team. Schultz’s Relative Corsi rating has not been nearly as good, and while he hasn’t had the same zonestart push that Gardiner has, that doesn’t make up the difference. Even measured against a terrible Oilers’ blue, the team gets out-shot with Schultz on the ice by more than the average.

But even that’s hardly conclusive. Schultz has been welded to Andrew Ference and Nick Schultz for pretty much the entirety of his NHL career; Gardiner has had Cody Franson and Luke Schenn. I don’t think the world of Schenn, but do consider Franson to be the best player on that list of four by a considerable margin.

In short, these guys are close; if I had to commit to one and only one for the next five seasons I don’t know which I’d choose.

The Range

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Tyler Dellow wrote about other comparables for Schultz a few weeks back, and noted six defencemen on long-term deals in the $4.0 million range:

With the exception of Hedman, who skews the list, most of these guys look to me like they were reasonably in the range of Schultz and Gardiner when they signed their long-term deals.

I don’t think $20 million or so over five years is a bargain price for a player like Schultz, but I also don’t think it’s a contract that the Oilers are going to deeply regret. At that rate, if he’s a decent second-pairing guy the team will be okay; right now that takes a bit of projection on our part but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation. From Schultz’s perspective, it’s not the Hall/Eberle/RNH deal, but it’s probably as much money as he can reasonably expect at term.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

    • that’s a good point and i agree with you. i think i’d take all of the comparables before schultz but what skews the number is the time, salary cap goes up, salaries go up. i love toews and kane but are they worth 2M more than Sid, no but they signed this year. the gardiner comparison is probably the most accurate and does lay out what schultz is worth today and i think most fans would be fine at this price

  • I think as much as I’m unsure about Schultz I’d do that same deal Gardiner got in a heartbeat. At worst it’s like average to slightly below average value for what he brings. At best, it’ll be like Hemsky’s first long deal he got that was fantastic value. So Ya, I’d take that small risk. It will be overpriced right now but should correct itself within a couple years at most.

    My only issue is more with fans. Oilers fans don’t see future when it comes to salary… They see now. So it will be tough to live up to.

  • vetinari

    I know that Schultz’s payday will be based on his comparables but I would take almost any of those other defencemen over Schultz. I have nothing against the guy and hope he sticks around for a while but he is not as developed or as rounded as some of the other guys listed and likely shouldn’t be paid for what he might turn into, at least not yet. My preference would be a 2/3 year bridge deal in the $3.5M/$3.75M range but if it was announced that he just signed for 5 years at $4M/per season, I wouldn’t be choked. Again, I just don’t want them to offer NTC or NMC’s in the deal so that if things go bust, you might be able to move him.

  • Zarny

    Why do I think that Schultz agent will try and place him with Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle when it comes to determining his value?

    It sounds like he should sign for something similar to Gardiner but I think they will be squeezing the Oilers for much more than that, likewise Petry.

    -30-

      • Spiel

        Schultz’s leverage is not great. Neither was the leverage of RNH, Hall or Eberle when they signed their deals.

        I don’t see Schultz’s incentive to take less than the Hall/Eberle/RNH deal on anything that is over 4 years. That’s the team structure for its “young guns” which Schultz was sold/promised as being part of when he signed.

        I suspect the Oilers will “win” this battle, sign Schultz to a shorter contract, and start the clock to four years from now when Schultz walks away as a UFA.

  • Hemmercules

    I don’t see him signing for a penny less than 4 mil per season. Signing a contract with the Oilers is an automatic extra 500 000 to a million in most cases anyway so it could be in the 4.5 range. He also chose to come here when he had other options, I’m sure his agent will work the hell out of that angle. Mact will get it done but I’m not expecting a bargain unless its very short term.

  • The thing that scares me the most about JW’s article (and I totally agree with him on his assessment) is that “if he’s a decent second-pairing guy the team will be okay”.

    Schultz is the closest thing to a “franchise” d-man that we have among those guaranteed to make the roster next season, and he is truly a second pairing defence man.

    That scares me.

    • Key point being “among those guaranteed to make the roster NEXT SEASON…” Enter Klefbom, Nurse, Marincin. Those three guys are going to change the face of the team by providing value contracts, and high levels of play on the back end. And once Nurse and Marincin fill into their lanky frames, my god, that is a scary left side for years.

      In my mind, and I don’t think this is wishful thinking, Nurse will be the Oilers Seabrook. Now if they could only find their Keith. Too bad they missed out on Ekblad, however with no one to replace Gagner, it’s a damn good thing they drafted Draisaitl.

  • While its a longish contract, the annual cap hit (for a blueliner of any pedigree) makes it a palatable option.

    Unless either steps into an elevator shaft performance wise, these contract are not immovable, should club circumstances dictate a trade away scenario.

  • He got more points than Phanuef who gets paid 7 mill, the same points as Erhoff who got a 1 year 4 mil contract (why didn’t the Oilers get that guy again?), but he got less points than oh heck Cam Fowler who just got a shiny new 4 mill per for the next ever years. If they can make him swallow a bridge deal great, otherwise pay him 4 mill for as many free agent years as possible. Cause in 2 years time, 4 mill for a defenceman who can put up 30 – 40 points (and hopefully actually defend) is going to be the mother of all bargain contracts.

    Personally I think if Petry didn’t have to take top pairing minutes and face nothing but insane competition, he’d easily be a 30 – 40 point guy. But that might be dreaming. Here’s hoping Schultz takes a big step forward this year, and if Petry does get traded, it’s either for a legit second line centre (who is this mystery person?) or for Boychuck (bigger, more points, better defender, tough and mean as rusty nails, surprisingly soft spoken, plays on the right side, has chemistry with Ferrence, but is 30).

      • That’s an interesting take on the contract. I viewed it more as Erhoff got bought out and made vast sums of money, so the Pens gave him a good chunk of cash and 1 year to see if they want to sign him long term.

        Several, not all, buy out guys got that 1 year deal. And of those guys, I’m not sure it was their choice to take the one year, lets win stanley style deal. Don’t you think Richards would have rather stuck around Chicago for more than 1 year?

        • The way I saw it was it was good for both sides. I believe Ehrhoff is a good Dman but his value took a big dip in at least the most recent year. I think that mostly has to do with Buffalo being all sorts of terrible. A one year deal with a team like Pittsburgh helps him show his value. I think it will work wonders for his image.

          Also, before he was bought out, he had a ntc (or nmc) and I think it’s a given Edmonton wasn’t a desired location. So with that in mind it makes as much sense that as a UFA…. Edmonton is still not a desired location. Would have been great to have him but let’s face it, he had way better options. Pretty sure the Oilers explored that option though.

          • Agree on all accounts. But without being an NHL player, and maybe Struds can or has answered this already in a Monday Mailbag, it’s hard to know what motivation a UFA has to take this contract in this city or that contract in that city. I think Oiler fans believe it’s impossible to attract desired free agents to this city. But, Fayne, Nikitin, Schultz, and Gordon might say otherwise.

            Obviously the Pens are a better team, but ever since they won the cup, for one reason or another, they just can’t seem to put together a convincing playoff run. They have arguably the best player in the NHL, and one of the best players ever, flanked by arguably one of the best players in the NHL, and maybe one of the top tier players ever. And yet even with that dynamic duo, cannot seem to get it together.

            My point being, as good as they are, I don’t see the Pens as a legitimate cup contender anymore. The teams in the west are just too deep, and too big. I would even put Colorado’s chances ahead of the Pens.

            How that relates to Edmonton is this: if you’re a free agent looking around the league at a team who will contend for the cup, do you look at a team like the Pens who through a few iterations with players like Iginla, can’t seem to get over the hump. Or do you see a team like Edmonton and wonder if they might just be a top two defender, and one developed second line centre draft pick away from finally becoming a fearsome team?

            Maybe it’s the rose colored glasses, okay it’s definitely the glasses, but the Oilers are becoming almost incomparable in terms of top end talent, throughout the line up. I predict in 2-3 years time, Edmonton, Dallas, and Colorado are going to be the new power houses in the West. Maybe with San Jose depending on what they get for Thorton.

            This article is a good example of what our team is. People are up in arms that Schultz gets a 4 mill contract because a 33 point defender couldn’t defend against top pair competition, playing over 20 min a night. The kid is 24 entering only his 3rd year of the NHL, 2nd full year. Yak is in the same boat. “Trade him!” How dare a misused 19 year old only score 24 points! It’s insane! Name one other 20 year old forward with as much potential as Yak. Galchenyuk maybe? Mckinnon, Hertl, Nichuskin? It’s a small group. And that is the tip of the young core iceberg on this team. One day, it will click, and that day is going to cause the rest of the league to collectively crap their pants suits.

            Sorry for the rant. Again, I agree with all your points, not really sure I have one myself.

          • Ya I actually do agree with much of your reply to. I think Edmonton is slowly becoming a good destination, so I don’t often think “this guy won’t come here, why bother?” like I used to. But I’m pretty sure that someone in the know mentioned Edmonton was not a team Ehrhoff would go to when he was being shoped so I can’t see how that changes a couple months later. He may not be the hottest commodity but I think he’s a good one (which is why both of us would have loved the Oilers to nab him).

            As far as Pittsburgh I think people too frequently have a “win the cup or you suck” mentality. I just don’t get that. Are the Pens really that bad? I don’t think so at all. They may not be the team to beat each year, but they’re still in the mix and have plenty of good talent there.

          • Ya I see what your saying there. But, I think it’s different with the Pens. For example, San Jose still hasn’t won a cup, and in the last decade I have yet to think they are a sucky team. Same with Detroit, even though it’s been a while, they just don’t feel like a bad team. But the Pens to me feel like a gimmickey team, able to have regular season success by virtue of Letang, Crosby, Fleury, and Malkin, but unable to find the next gear in the playoffs by virtue of Letang, Crosby, Fluery, and Malkin.

            Compare the Pens to a team like Florida. To me Florida is a more complete top to bottom team. Same with NY, guys like Stepan and Brassard are not flashy, but I think they make fora better team make ups, especially in the playoffs, than Crosby and Malkin. The B’s are the same way.

            So no, I don’t think the Pens suck by any measure, but I just don’t see them as a hockey team either. I see them as Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and Fluery. I don’t know, I might be just talking out of my butt here. I guess I’m saying they are to the NHL as the Russian team is to Olympic hockey: A collection of individuals rather than a team.

          • Brad Richards from NYR to Chicago after being bought out. They gave him a 1 year 2 mill with a NMC. My thought is a 34 year old who just got bought out of a long term secure contract, probably doesn’t want to have to “prove himself” to land another deal that takes him to the end of his career. Nor do I imagine, especially since he’s already won a cup, he’s going to team hop for a chance to win the cup.

            With a few players taking these one year contracts after being bought out, and not necessarily to cup contending teams, it’s a bit hard to watch the Oilers miss out. I really wanted them to grab someone for the Gordon line, since even though they are “4th line” it stands to reason they will be playing 3rd or 2nd line minutes. And those minutes are going to be tooouuuugh.

            But, with Purcell and Poulliot, instead of Hemsky, Smyth, or Jones, Eakins can employ some really dynamic line combinations depending on the team on any given night.

            For example, Purcell put up impressive numbers with Stamkos, and then good possession but not so great offense with other players. So how would a top line of Perron Nuge and Purcell look? Letting Hall and Eberle either regain chemistry with Arco, or giving Draisaitl somone to push the river with. Poulliot, Draisaitl, Eberle would be a deadly second line. Hall, Nuge, Yak on the top line. Then Perron, Arco, Purcell for the third line? Plus I think it has been correctly speculated that Yak and Draisaitl could sit and that winger handed over to the Gordon line when the team needs to hold onto a lead. Basically Eakins has a chance to spread out the talent and balance the line up with size, veteran, two way, grit, skill, speed, or load up. Not many teams have the depth to do that.

    • bwar

      The Oilers didn’t sign Erhoff because he didn’t want to come here. He signed with the Penguins as soon as he could. Quit trying to pin crap like not getting certain players at MacT’s feet. I’m sure the obvious FA’s that could’ve helped the team, MacT talked to, but this is Edmonton, we aren’t winning the cup in the next few years, so older guys aren’t coming here with no chance to win.

      Steve Ott told Gregor the exact same thing, that’s why he didn’t sign here either, he wants a chance to win, thus signing with the blues, but I’m sure you’ll find a way to blame MacT for that too.

      • Not pinning anything at Mac T’s feet. Though, you know, it is kind of his job to make the team better. Whether free agents think they want to come here or not. A difficult job to be sure, but that is his job.

        However, more just joking about Erhoff than anything. But since we’re on the subject I think Mac T has done a pretty decent job given the team he took over and the holes he needed to plug. Perron, Purcell, Poulliot, Scrivens, Fasth, Drasiatl, Fayne, and Nikitin, make a much better team dynamic than Magnus, Smyth, Hemsky, Gagner, Dubnyk, Labarbra, Nick Schultz, and Belov.

        That is a major upgrade in just 2 years, and made our team bigger and more experienced. I hope he gets another 2nd line centre, but if not I’m confident the team is deep enough on the wings to insulate our thin centre. As mentioned in a previous post, a top line of Perron, Nuge Purcell, followed by Hall Arco Ebs is pretty good. Or you could throw perron down on the 3rd line and do Hall Nuge Yak followed by Poulliot Draisaitl Eberle. Lots of possibilities.

        But, we’ve needed a top two centre and a big skilled centre for seemingly ever. It would be a bit stupid to think in this confrence the team is suddenly good enough to make huge strides. But maybe.

      • camdog

        Boychuk’s 30 and a UFA after this season, they don’t have the money to keep him. Boychuk’s played a lot of tough minutes, he’s bound to lose a gear in the next couple of years. That Bruins defence could use a mid level experienced defenceman with some speed to compliment the others in the rotation. And McQuaid wouldn’t even be top 6 in Edmonton, never mind him being better than Petry.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          I should say the Bruins and Oilers are my two favorite teams, so I’m not being biased here. The Bruins could have dumped Boychuk and kept Iginla. The fact that they let Iginla walk, tells you they think highly of Boychuk.
          I hope the Oilers upgrade on D, but I don’t think it’s coming from Boston.

  • I’d also be happy if they gave him a similar deal to what attracted him to Edmonton in the first place: bonus potential. I truly think one of the big factors when he looked around the league was that Edmonton was the place where he would get the icetime to hit his maximum bonus structure, since every team in the league was going to give him that max contract. So, why not continue that and add in bonus potential? He knows he’s going to get the ice time.

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    The salary structure is hockey is so out of whack. In the other team sports, big stars get the big bucks and the supporting cast take a smaller chunk. How anyone can think either Gardiner or Schultz are worth anything close to $4 million is delusional.

    But that’s the problem with todays hockey. Medium level players are overpayed because they play responsible, don’t make mistakes, stop your opponents from scoring (in other words, safe and boring). Where is the creativity, the risk taking part of the game. It doesn’t exist anymore. The league caps what the top players can make, which is a huge mistake.

    • It’s not fair, perhaps, but a huge mistake? The thing to keep in mind is that at the top end – the Crosbys and the like – the NHL has no league that can consistently compete in terms of dollars (only a very few KHL teams can afford that kind of cash).

      The threat is to those medium-level NHL’ers, because the KHL can compete dollar-wise for them. So having a cap that inflates salaries to medium-level players is actually not a bad way to keep as much talent as possible in the league.

      • Lowe But Now High Expectations

        With current world events, how long will the KHL be a viable option. And also the NBA went through this already. Many medium level players went to europe to play because the NBA pays top stars big money. And at the end of the day, more people want to see the Lebron’s and Kobe’s as apposed to defensive specialists.

    • Serious Gord

      Excellent observation.

      The only way this changes is if the rules change to make the game far more offense-minded. Dramatically reducing the size of goalie equipment – IOW return it to where it was in the early seventies – with just the bare minimum required for safety – would go a long way to doing that.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Shipcanning all the systems play would help matters as well. Tilting the ice surface to deter offense is paramount.

        It’s easier to teach marginal players to prevent goals than it is to have them to score them. Talent and creativity don’t rule todays game anymore. It’s which team executes their system better each evening that is up for grabs.

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    I’d take the chance on Schultz, with the cap seemingly going up a $4M per for 4-5 years it wouldn’t be a significant hit if Schultz (god forbid) were to not pan out. He’s the right age and has been mentioned as being a core piece by MacT so I don’t have a serious issue if Schultz signed long term.

  • Anything more than 4m per for Schultz at this point in his career is a joke. He should take a bridge deal at that amount and work his tail off if he truly thinks he should get more. If Subban can do it, so can he – and Subban is one hell of a better player than Schultz.

  • 20M over five years is probably a totally fair contract for Jultz, but at 2Mless/yr than Hall and Co. I doubt the deal gets done for that amount.

    If MacT wants Jultz for five years+, he will likely have to fork over 4.5M/yr or more. Seems like a definite over pay right now, but in a few years it will be reasonable.

    My guess is either a smaller bridge deal for 1-2 years, or 24.5M over 5 years.

    • Hall and Co. don’t play defence, and there’s no real reason to believe at this point that Schultz is a better player than Jake Gardiner.

      Maybe it’s just me, but if he wants a long-term contract rather than a bridge deal (and I suspect a long-term commitment in the perceived interests of both sides) I wouldn’t pay him a penny more than what Gardiner got.

      • I wouldn’t pay him more either… but I have a feeling MacT will. Looking at the Gagner contract of 4.4M makes me wonder.

        The circumstances and players are completely different, but MacT talks like his value of Schultz is higher than the player’s actual value.

  • The Last Big Bear

    How about another comparable?

    He just finished his 23 year old season.

    He had the 2nd highest Corsi Rel of any defenceman in the entire NHL.

    7th in the NHL for even-strength TOI (19:39/gm)

    He scored 31 points.

    $2.1m RFA on a bridge contract.

    I’ll give you a clue… He plays for the team that you all hate…

      • The Soup Fascist

        Good guess. What threw me off was that I thought LBB was referring to an ACTUAL, you know …. NHL team instead of the Flames.

        (I know – glass houses, rocks, blah, blah, blah). Just because the Oil have stunk for the last 8 years doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.

    • Zarny

      TJ Brodie isn’t a comparable.

      Brodie signed his bridge before everything you mentioned. Prior to last season his resume included a mere 28 pts in 104 games (0.269 pt/gm).

      That offensive production is slightly over half of Schutlz’ to date (0.491 pt/gm).

      His Corsi Rel was also highly skewed by playing Gio who had the highest Corsi Rel in the league.

      Had Brodie signed after last season he would have got a whole lot more than $2.1M/yr.

      • The Last Big Bear

        TJ Brodie signed that bridge deal coming out of a season where he logged over 19 mins/game.

        And he was 8th among NHL defencemen in Corsi Rel, and his main linemate was Dennis Wideman.

        He also finished as a plus player despite playing on the Calgary Flames.

        Brodie was putting up fewer points than Schultz when he signed, but he was also able to do his job and actually play defence, something Schultz is still struggling to do.

        • Zarny

          In 2012-13, Brodie average 20:13 min/gm to be exact. Last year Schultz averaged 23:20 min/gm.

          He was also 12th among NHL defensemen in Corsi Rel according to Extraskater with +4.5% on a team that was ranked 22nd overall. Schultz last year was -2.6% on a team ranked 28th.

          Brodie finished -9 in 2012-13 so no he was not a plus player.

          Fewer points? Yes, like half the number of points and he was able to do his job and actually play defense while on the ice with considerably better D partners than Schultz.

          Considerably better…especially last year.

          • The Last Big Bear

            Ah yes, I was looking at his previous (2011-12) season when I said he was a plus player, my bad.

            My point was that Brodie was not just some schlub when he signed his bridge contract. He was playing big minutes in the NHL at a very young age, and was performing very well during those minutes.

            Schulz is more proven than Brodie was when he signed his bridge deal, but that’s not necessarily a good thing given that his already questionable defence hasn’t really improved by leaps and bounds.

            You are right, of course, that points will get you paid in the NHL, regardless of anything else.

            I was simply pointing out that $4m+ long-term deals are not the only comparables for a young big-minutes defenceman. Players who are just as good or better than Schultz have signed bridge deals recently.

            This is not always a good thing for the team, of course…

            Edit – As I understand it, Corsi stats are not admissable in Arbitration cases, and I think they are under-weighted in contract negotiations in general.

            Only box stats and situational TOI are admissable for abitration.

          • Zarny

            Yeah, as I understand it Corsi stats (advanced stats) aren’t admissible in Arbitration cases and I would think are under-weighted in contract negotiations still given some hockey people still think it’s hocus pocus.

            Which was really my point. I certainly wasn’t trying to suggest Brodie was a scrub when he signed his bridge; he simply hadn’t produced offensively which (again right or wrong) counts in the NHL so I don’t think he’d be a good comparable for Schultz.

            Like I said, I think whether Schultz signs a bridge or a longer term contract isn’t too concerning for Edmonton. Maybe you pay a bit more after a bridge if his defense improves. Maybe he is a bit overpaid at $4M if his defense doesn’t.

            I don’t see a bridge biting Edm like Subban in Mtl and I don’t see a longer term deal at $4M being an anchor if they go that route.

            I do think inflation is something to consider though. Until star players take max contracts the mushy middle will continue to get overpaid. If the cap spikes a lot $4M for Schultz in 2-3 years might look like a bargain.

  • bazmagoo

    I’d be content with the exact same dollar value as Gardiner, and whatever term the two parties agree on. Schultz has lots of potential, at worst I see him as a 2nd pairing guy and 1st pairing PP. Decent $ value.

  • Zarny

    Absolutely Gardiner’s extension is a comparable for Schultz. If Schultz signs a longer term extension it will be for ~ $4M per season.

    I agree $20M over 5 years won’t be a real bargain unless Schultz’ defense significantly improves but it also won’t be an anchor.

    Like it or not, Schultz’ offense is there…60 pt over 122 games equates to 40 pts over a 82 games. In the NHL, points gets you paid.

    One thing to consider is inflation. The cap is going up. PK will likely get north of $8M this year so the bar will get raised and since NHL stars don’t take max contracts middling players get overpaid.

    Which means even if Schultz’ defense doesn’t improve significantly over the next 2 years you probably won’t be getting him for less than $4M per season after a bridge and it could be more.

    The Oilers are in a good spot. The risk with a bridge contract is you pay a bit more next extension. The risk with a longer term deal is Schultz doesn’t quite live up to the contract but he has no leverage above $4M.

    In both cases the risk is low. It’s unlikely he’ll ever under perform $4M by a lot given his offense but he probably won’t over-perform and cost $7M in 2 years either.

    • A-Mc

      Exactly.

      Call me crazy but i think the Oilers need to go long term on Schultz, if they can snag him for around 4M.

      NHL teams are spending MONEY these days: if schultz gets a bridge deal, i could see us having to pay him 6+ in 2 years. I say sign him for 5yrs+ at 4m/yr and thank your lucky stars you got him before the crazy had completely set in. (It’s already started).

  • Zarny

    @The Last Big Bear

    Don’t get me wrong; I like TJ Brodie. I get to see lots of Flames games living in Calgary.

    Corsi/Corsi Rel is the only area he looks better than Schultz though when comparing their situations going into signing their extensions. And if Brodie was playing 20 min/gm with Nick Schultz I’m not sure that advantage holds up.

    And from a leverage standpoint I’m not sure Corsi/Corsi Rel holds a lot of weight in negotiations yet. If it ever went to arbitration I suspect a lot more weight would be placed on offense. Right or wrong, points gets you paid.

  • Zarny

    @Will

    Richards didn’t say it was the best deal he could get on a competitive team. He simply said he took less in term and money specifically for Chicago.

    How competitive the other teams are that offered more only Richards, his agent and the teams know. But he still had 20 G and 51 pt last year.

    That’s better production than Grabovski last year who signed for $5M/yr. It’s silly to think the best Richards could do was $2M/yr. He clearly took a lot less to sign with 1 of 2 teams that has 2 Cups in the last 5 years.

    • Hmmm, well B’s are over the cap, Philly is over (not that they’ve won a cup in the last 5), LA needed to resign King and Gaborik and really between Kopitar, Carter, Stoll, and Richards, where would Richard play? Detroit is looking at Zetterburgh, Datsuyk, Weiss, and Alferdson down the middle. Pens have Crosby, Malkin, Suter. San Jose has Thorton, Cotuier, and Hertl, and St. Louis has Steen, Burglund, Stasny, and Backus.

      Who are these cup contending teams offering Richards a better than 1 year at 2 mill per deal? Let’s go tier 2 contenders: Colorado couldn’t even keep Stasny and took O’Reily to arbitration so I doubt they came to the table with a big offer. Dallas picked up Spezza, and already had Eakin, Horcoff, and Fidler. Hmm running out of ‘conteders’.

      The Islanders grabbed Grabovksi to play somewhere in the line up with Tavaras, Neilsen and Bailey. The Rangers were the one who bought him out in the first place. The Lightning picked up Boyle for third line behind Stamkos and Kilorn. Nashville, who I don’t consider a contender I guess could have offered a better deal. The Capitals maybe, but they only have about 1 mill in cap space left so I can’t see them coming to the table with a deal better than 2 mill. Montreal seems pretty set with Plekanec, Eller, and Galchenyuk. Minni, ha! Anaheim grabbed Kesler and lost both Perreult and Bonino, so maybe they wanted Richards for 3rd line duty?

      So what does that leave? Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Arizona, Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Toronto, Buffalo, and Columbus. Scratch Florida and Columbus based of their centre charts. So of those teams left, I guess he could have gotten a better than 2 mill per year deal on the perennial cup contending Hurricanes, Coyotes, or Canucks?

      Richards must have jumped at the chance for 1 year at 2 mill with Chicago.

      Basically Richards could say whatever he wants, fact is he was not worth the money on his big free agent contract, got bought out by a team that favored more invested players, and likely thanked the Gods a team like Chicago had room for him. Though after the double deuce contracts they gave to Toews and Kane, money says they have no room for Richards next year, at least not at 2 mill.

      • The Soup Fascist

        So what happens to the “defensive defenseman” who goes to arbitration?

        What can be used by the player to support his case if most advanced stats are inadmissable? Blocked shots? Hits? TOI? That pretty much covers it. I guess plus minus but if you are a D man on a bad team you are really in trouble.

        I am trying to think of one who went to arbitration lately and I can’t. I guess I am answering my own question. Defensive defensemen get screwed.

        • Zarny

          Do they?

          Willie Mitchell signed for $4.25M and made $3.5M the previous 8 seasons. That’s pretty good scratch for a guy who has topped 20 pt twice and whose career year is 24. Engelland signed for $2.9M. Fayne signed for $3.625M. Matt Greene’s career year is 15 pt and he got $2.5M. Mark Stuart in Wpg is getting $2.625M. Scuderi gets $3.375M in Pit.

          Defensive specialists seem to be doing OK.

    • camdog

      I am good with that number both players are electric. Jake is one of the most talented albeit “flaky” player I have seen in a while. Only time will tell if they both become true 1-2 D-man. Would have loved to see Jake in an Oiler uni I think Carlyle et al. missed the boat last season in not giving him proper PP time.

  • Spydyr

    Give him a couple reasonable options one short term one long term.If he rejects both trade him.

    One thing to remember in this scenario is I actually like defencman that protect their goalie not look to the ref.Shultz is softer than butter on the sidewalk today.

  • Zarny

    I love pronger. That is the type of big, mean talented defensmen I like. Defense/jerk first. Darnell nurse forever. Schultz is a super talented skilled fella but just not my type. Having said that, 4mil for 5 is fine in my books. His type of play is coveted by many teams and a trade down the road if need be I believe will fetch us a fair return. Not my type but I appreciate his beauty.

  • Zarny

    Some very good compatibles there and it sounds like both sides want to get it done. We do not want to start losing players for any reason our lack of depth has kept this team from improving.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s decision time for MacTavish and Justin. A make or break time as far as neck on the line GM’s types go.

    A confident GM would make that difficult decisions sooner rather than later. We’ve seen more than our share of the far too late variety with the Hemsky and Gagner types in recent years. Making a tough decision now on a player such as Schultz, while his value is still close to it’s peak right now. Takes a lot of balls to act on your own personal opinion on where you feel a players possible performance ceiling tops out at.

    Should be interesting to see if Craig acts on that instinct, or hangs onto him believing he’ll reach those levels of expectation.

    Zarny, what would you do, based on your opinion of him as of today?

    • Zarny

      I disagree that it’s make or break time for MacTavish with Justin Schultz. I actually think it’s the complete opposite; the Oilers are in a great position.

      I think it’s silly to suggest Schultz’ value has peaked. The holes in his defensive game are expected given he has played all of 122 NHL games and has consistently played with less than stellar partners. They only seem acute because the Oilers consistently throw kids in over their head. His defense will improve; the unknown is by how much.

      With the comparables listed locked in ~ $4M the Oilers have all the leverage. Which is one reason they should consider a longer term deal. In 2 years, they may not have all the leverage and the comparables could be higher.

      If I was actually the Oilers GM, my preference would depend significantly on knowing Justin Schultz the individual. How competitive is he? How focused is he? What are his training habits? What are his lifestyle habits? How aware and dedicated is he to improving his deficiencies?

      I know none of that so I can only focus on the financial risk of 2 yr bridge vs a longer term deal. Overall though, we’re not talking about a grand canyon of difference between a 2 yr @ $2.8M bridge and 5 yr @ $4M.

      The risk of a longer term deal is he under performs the contract. His detractors like to focus only on his defensive shortcomings but he has 60 pt in 122 games which equates to 40 pt a year. Like it or not, that has value. That’s just reality. If he under performs $4M/yr over the next 2 years it probably isn’t by much. I think the worst case scenario is he only plays up to $3M/yr so the risk overall is ~ $2M.

      The risk of a bridge contract is that it takes a lot more money to resign him in 2 yrs. They could save $2.4M ish over the next 2 years which means they would have to resign for $4.8M for the following 3 years to break even over a 5 year period.

      Niskanen turned 46 pt last year into $5.75M/yr. Schultz wouldn’t be a UFA in 2 yrs but he’d only have 1 RFA year left and with inflation that could be the number he gets after a bridge with improved defense. It’s not impossible he improves beyond that but I think that’s a reasonable upper end for expectations. So the risk overall is ~ ($5.75M – $4.8M) x 3 = $2.85M.

      $2M vs $2.85M…the risk is pretty much equal. I think once you get to years 3-5 the risk is significantly lower that Schultz under performs $4M so unless there were red flags I’d lean towards a longer term extension similar to Gardiners.

      I wouldn’t criticize a bridge deal though especially if it comes in lower than $2.8M/yr.