There’s been plenty of debate in recent weeks about how much the Edmonton Oilers should pay RFA defenseman Justin Schultz on a bridge deal. That isn’t likely to end when the ink is done.

While we don’t know what number GM Craig MacTavish and agent Wade Arnott will settle on – speculation has been Arnott wanted something north of $4 million a season when negotiations began, while a big chunk of the Oiler fan base believes anything that doesn’t start with a “2” is an overpay – indications today are the sides are close to a deal.

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Reading between lines tweeted by Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and Regan Bartel, the voice of the WHL Rockets in Kelowna, where Schultz and other pros have been skating (and where MacTavish has an off-season home), I’d suggest a deal is imminent and could be done as early as Friday – even if we don’t get an announcement until after the long weekend.

No matter where you come down on what Schultz, a 24-year-old with top-pairing offensive skills and take-a-seat-kid holes in his defensive game, on what will likely be a one-year deal, having him signed, sealed and delivered with weeks to spare before training camp opens is good news.



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Bartel, a veteran WHL broadcaster who was in the running for the radio play-by-play job with the Oilers that went to Jack Michaels after Rod Phillips retired, passed along the following on Twitter Thursday:

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Earlier in the day, Stauffer kicked things off with the following:

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As negotiations have gone on, debate about what Schultz is worth has run the gamut from using P.K. Subban as a comparable to an insistence by many the Oilers should take advantage of the leverage they have in dealing with a RFA who got a sweet deal from Edmonton as a UFA (I’m in that camp).

Play hardball. “We’ll pay you $2.75 million this season. Prove you’re worth more and we’ll talk next summer.” I’m fine with that. Of course, what I think should happen and what I think will happen are distinctly different. Schultz made $925,000 in salary last season. Bonuses bumped that to $3.775 million. I can see why he wouldn’t like the sound of $2.75 million.

I think $2.75 million sounds about right. That said, the Oilers have a history of overpaying and I don’t expect that to change with Arnott and Schultz. I said today on the Jason Gregor Show I think the Oilers will come in at $3.3 million. Gregor came in at $3.25 million. What’s your number?

Like I said off the top, given what Stauffer and Bartel Tweeted and what my gut tells me, my sense is we’ll find out in very short order. The Oilers likely won’t squeeze as much as they could (or should), but there is something to be said – a lot, actually – for having the ink done rather than seeing Schultz miss even a day of training camp.



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. . . Drew Remenda, who’ll take over from Louie DeBrusk as the analyst alongside Kevin Quinn for Oiler broadcasts on Sportsnet, will grow on you. He knows his stuff. He’s substance over style, and that works for me. 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • Spydyr

    Overpay for Schultz. Maybe Petry is the one we should consider keeping in the fold next summer if Schultz is this difficult to re-sign over this coming season.

  • Zarny

    As I expected they got a deal done. I thought $3.3M ish was a good target so bit of an overpay but that’s fine on a 1 yr deal.

    And now it’s time to go to work Mr. Schultz. Big pile of cash waiting for you at the end of the season. Just have to go earn it.

  • TheresAlwaysNextYear

    its only an overpay if he plays less than 60 games this season and producing less than 30 points. tbh i think he’s gonna play atleast 75 games and the range of 40-55 points. massive pay raise the season after!

  • A-Mc

    Very dissapointed Lou will not be doing color for the games. I really enjoyed what he contributed and the way he spoke about the games. Being a fan that lives too far from the rink to see games he bridged the gap for me. Sad to say in a way, but there were a lot of games where his one liner or comment was the best entertainment in a period. I hope it was his choice to leave, othewise whome ever made that decision made a fricken huge mistake and should be roped to a horse by one leg and dragged around the desert.

  • Zarny


    Playoffs is unlikely.

    To start last year, most predicted the Oilers would be in the group just out of the playoffs (17th-22nd). We all know what happened.

    Realistically, the additions MacT has made get the Oilers to where most thought they were lasy year. Just outside of the playoffs finishing 17th-22nd.

  • Spydyr

    As stated in the classic comedy Used Cars……the price is” too f-ing high.”

    If you don’t know the movie Google Used Cars too high, it is great for a laugh.

  • vetinari

    It’s an overpay for Schultz but it was an overpay that I was expecting (see: Willis’ article on Schultz dated August 14th, comments #31 and 44).

    Given the candy contracts handed out to Nikitin, Fayne, Ference and the others, and given that his name is always said in the same breath as Hall, RNH, Eberle and Yakupov, you knew that this was not going to end with a team friendly $2.5M deal.

    It also sets the bar higher for next year when it comes time to qualify Schultz. I hope that this is a breakout year for him and maybe having a one year deal gives him the incentive to clean up his defensive game for the security of a long term deal next time. On the other hand, aren’t we just paying him on his potential rather than his performance and rewarding him for playing in only one end of the ice?

  • A-Mc

    Good, they got something done. Because it’s a 1 year, the Schultz camp obviously thinks they are worth much more than that. I hope to hell Jultz comes out firing on all cylinders and just kills it this year.

    If by the end of the year we’re screaming TAKE OUR MONIES 6M+ for 5+yrs! then we’ve all won here in oil country. Only Schultz can make that happen now.

    Just a reminder to those who oppose Schultz: he was 38th overall in points amongst defensemen, and he chose to play for US. His Defensive game was already getting better as the year went on. As an offensive defenseman, if he can solidify his defensive game a bit, He could be worth a ton of money down the road. Dont turn your noses up too quickly on this guy

  • Serious Gord

    Sigh. A bit of an overpay saved by the shortness of the term. Now Shultz has to earn his long-term, big dollar contract.

    How much less would he have taken had MacT kept his mouth shut and not said he was a “core” player?

      • Serious Gord

        Did he ask for less because MacT said it?

        When you are shopping for a car you wouldn’t tip your hand like that. It’s just a dumb way to negotiate and it gives your adversary comfort and leverage that he wouldn’t otherwise have.

  • Serious Gord

    I’m guessing this means that Schultz will sign a multi-year deal for big money starting next year (as long as he plays well this year), Klefbom and/or Nurse will be ready to play, and Petry will be gone at the deadline.

    • A-Mc

      On principle alone, i would have tried to get petry signed for atleast 3 years.

      This 1 year deal that leads into UFA status is a bunch of crap. You can’t trade the guy because he can always walk at the end of the year. You can’t drop the hammer on him because.. UFA. You basically have no leverage what so ever with this guy now that the 1 year is inked.

      If petry wanted 3.5-4m for multi-year, i’m almost inclined to give it to him. He’ll get that on the UFA market and atleast then he’s an asset you either retain and/or trade. The 1 year is a shot to the foot.

  • 916oiler

    …well at least Shultz should be happy now and the Oilers aren’t in a cap crunch. That’s how I’m going to spin this most recent overpayment to myself.

  • DieHard

    This is about 0.5M more than I would expect for a 1 year deal.

    According to Capgeek this leaves the Oil with about $M of cap space this year with 23 players signed. So its’ not like an overpayment will impact their cap situation this year.

    However they have about $5M in potential bonus payments. About $2.8M for Yak and maybe about $2.4 for LD. Yak’s bonuses are structured such that they are as good as guaranteed. LD still has to make the team, which I don’t this is a given. Bonuses are only paid at the end of the year and can be accounted either in the year they are earned or the following year. If they do need to carry over some bonus payment into next year it might have an impact then.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Honestly pretty glad to hear Louie got the axe. If I had to hear him say ‘blue paint’ one more time, I might’ve thrown a beer at the TV.