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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Good move by both parties to start camp on a positive note. Don’t care what the money is when the deal is done. He’s a step above Smid (3.5 per) that’s for sure.

  • Here’s hoping Debrusk lands on his feet when he’s ready. He always had the back of the blue collar lunchbox players even while during the last few years the Oilers had to bring two lunches: one for their opponent and another for their opponent.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Oilers management better realize that they hold all the cards in this.he’s a RFA who at the moment has the defensive skill of a 3 liner. If Shultz goes into the season without a contract he’s the one who has the most to lose. I’m sure that one of klefbom,aulie or nurse has what it takes to replace Shultz for at least a little while. Meanwhile Shultz’s needs to prove himself and that ain’t gonna happen with him sitting out

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Whats the negative on the signing? Its a 1 year deal. Still have roughly $4million in cap space. He remains an RFA next year. In no way does it hinder the teams performance this coming year.

  • toprightcorner

    1 year $2.95 and when he confirms to everyone he is a 3rd pairing defenceman and PP specialist during the season the Oilers won’t pay Schultz what he wants and will trade him because Nurse and Klefbom will be on the team.

  • justDOit

    Drew is substance over style? Okay, I’ll bite – which substance, and how often?

    I’ve watched SJ streams last season. Excuse me while I tickle my uvula with a feather…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What Schultz deserves:

    One year at $2.5M or 4 or 5 years at $4M per

    What Schultz will get:

    One year at $4 M or 2-3 years at $5M per

    The “Oilers Tax” gets us everytime.

  • 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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    “He’s gettin a tattoo’ yeah he’s gettin ink done
    He wanted a 13 but they draw a 31
    They say he’s tryin too hard
    Yeah he’s not quite hip
    But in his own mind he’s the dopest trip”

  • northof51

    Really respect Louie, but I think he is better suited to national broadcasts (where I think the more casual type fan is drawn). He is charasmatic but just didn’t really offer enough meaningful analysis. He and Kevin would often dwell on story lines and past events rather than the plays going on in real time. Looking forward to Remenda and wish Louie all the best.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There is a capable center out there still looking for work. Lets take a look at his resume….

    8 year NHL veteran.

    29 yrs old.

    6’1″ 200lbs.

    3 time Stanley Cup Champion.

    Looking for work at under 1.5 per season.

    Who am I?

  • Jayz

    Browny trying to be like LT’s site ? Or is that my imagination ? I think oiler fans are like Charlie Brown holding the football and Lucy is oiler management/players. Starts off every year with much promise, then that football/season gets ripped away and we’re left trying to suck more than buffalo so we can pick high in the draft and start this sad ordeal once again . I thought Jshultz was gonna be our Drew Doughty … Gl Louie, thanks for the calls

  • Fayne Nikitin Marincin Klefbom Scrivens Fasth Purcell Pouliot…. It looks like kool-aid, it tastes like kool-aid, but yet i still believe it to be legit playoff hope when comparing the last two rosters. Someone fix me.

    If CorsiRel, and WOWY mean anything (i think they do) than Fayne and Pouliot were arguably the best FA signings by the oil that I can remember. Just hope that Fayne’s nbrs were not a product of being with Andy Greene, but that it was the other way around. The WOWY suggests Fayne was lucky to be paired with Greene, his numbers weren’t as strong when paired with other d men. Still good, just not as good.

    Pouliot on the other hand has made all but two players better out what..39 total linemates in his career. Fayne talks the talk, and was the #2 dman for NJ last year, but can he do it without a legit #1 at his side? He’ll have to.

  • 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