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.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    RB, you’ve been around. You must shake your head when you’re writing about the team playing hardball in offering 2.75 million to a kid who has one and a half seasons of weak play under his belt.

    Schultz deserves a two way contract. A one way contract for a million bucks would be generous.

    Are we going to be talking about 5 million bucks being a ‘slap in the face’ to unproven kids in a few years? I’m sure this perverted industry will be having another work stoppage in a few years

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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”

  • 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.

  • Serious Gord

    As for mr debrusk – I say “meh”.

    Not much remarkable in his style or substance.

    But he was a million times better than the guy who did TV color for the flames last year and years prior – Charlie Simmer – the wiki site seems to indicate that Kelly hrudey has taken his place.

    Substance well expressed is what I prefer.

    Cornpone antics make me hit the mute button or – more often – the skip button on the pvr.

  • 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.

  • 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

    Anyone thinking that he’ll get under 3.75 probably 4 is kidding themselves. The oil signed Nikita Nikitin at 4.5 a year and JS has got the same amount of points in half as many games. That being said, the oilers do hold the cards. They have nothing to lose, and should tell him that 3m×2yrs is what’s up, and proceed with the season as if he isn’t there.

  • Serious Gord

    One year between 3 and 3.5 sounds about right.

    Too bad the cba doesn’t allow for two way bonus/retraction contracts – the the oil could pay him five if he hits certain performance parameters – if he doesn’t then he would have to give half of it back. Under that system contracts would be a lot easier to negotiate. (And players would have a lot more financial motive)

  • 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

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Serious Gord

    Nikta Nikitin 206 NHL games, 27 years old ….2 years @ $4.5m

    Mark Fayne 242 NHL games, 26 years old ….4 years at $3.6m

    Petry 236 NHL games, 26 years old ….1 year @$3M

    Shultz 122 NHL games, 24 years old ….4 years @ $4M

    The message is, JS is a player we will build around, all you college FA take a chance on us. Small raise and term allows JS the time to grow as a dman