Justin Schultz: One-Year Deal?

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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

  • sign him to an 8yr x 34mil deal then:

    flip him to Nashville with Yakupov, Arco, a 1st & 3rd rounder for Weber, Colin Wilson, and 4th…….

    done…and done, everyone’s problems are solved…..

  • Guy Lafleur

    How can anyone even discuss Schultz in the same sentance as PK Subban ..Schultz couldnt hold PKs jock !!! I dont know what bargaining tools he thinks he has over the OIL ..take 900 Grrrr and thank your lucky stars they give you that much .This kid is the biggest flop since the rebuild started !!

  • I can’t believe people want to get rid of Schultz. He has a tremendous upside and is an offensive defenseman that can move the puck and put up 40ish points. Yes he struggles defensively but he’s only played 120 games for the worst team in the league. Paul Coffey struggled defensively too. I’m not saying he is anywhere close to Coffey but why would you move a guy with this much upside? It’s ludicrous! He will improve this year just by not having to play so much. Petry will improve for the same reason, as will Ference. When guys aren’t forced to play above their heads all year they can actually succeed.

    Now if we could only get a second line centre and get out of the running for McDavid!

  • Zarny

    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.

  • If he is important and a member of Core, give him $3.775 what he earned past 2 years (with bonus) for next 1 or 2 years. Maybe an over pay. Maybe not. Likely below market value still.

  • Zarny

    It’s interesting that nobody seems to be paying attention to the fact that he held out on ANA for 2 years and jumped ship to the best possible option to showcase himself. Now that he’s here and that first contract is up, it’s interesting to see that he’s trying to get the best possible contract situation once more. Now, we all do that, but at what point do you point to the fact that in 3 contract discussions in a row, he’s willing to hit as hard as he can – all in favour of himself? I suspect he won’t retire an Oiler, let’s say that.

    • Well said, I put forth this same sentiment a few weeks back on this site and was met with immediate “trash heap”…..i suspect you will endure the same fate from us delusional Oiler fans.

  • Zarny

    @Ed in Edmonton

    MacT didn’t publish a document titled “Core Players”. He gave a public vote of confidence for a player he likes, helped recruit and views as part of the long term solution.

    I see absolutely nothing concerning or beyond belief about that. Especially when the player is in a contract year. GM’s make similar statements about similar types of players all the time. File it under routine relationship management.

    That doesn’t mean you abandoned all logic and reason. Schultz has a lot of pros but also has some cons. Those cons directly relate to his long term ceiling as a player. The Oilers know it. Schultz knows it. Meehan knows it.

    So they’re working there way to a deal that reasonably makes everyone happy. There is nothing wrong with that and no need to lose perspective.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Lets agree the Oilers’ prepare for contract negotiation months in advance, and are in regular contact with the players agency anchoring their position. They would have multiple scenerios planned out, and multiple check points to ensure they stay on course.

      So for MacT to come out a few weeks before a contract needs to be signed, after the arbitation process is waved and say Shultz is a core player and then not offer core money is confusing to the employee.

      I think we are seeing for all the good MacT is doing we are seeing a pattern that he talks too much for his own good.

  • Zarny

    One year deal at 2.5 with bonuses, that will give him more incentive to dig deeper to keep on the right side of the +/-. Or if your bold, try him up front, he is probably a better winger than D. Could be worth 35-40 goals a year with a good +/-.

  • 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.

    • Dan 1919

      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.)

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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.

  • 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 .