JUSTIN SCHULTZ: FRAMING THE ISSUE

schultz common

The Edmonton Oilers love Justin Schultz. It’s obvious, made clear in all kinds of ways. The main one has to do with time on ice—Schultz has played more minutes this season than all but 50 NHL defensemen. Schultz has not delivered enough in those situations. What will the Oilers do?

TOI EVS, 2013-14 OILERS BLUE

  1. Justin Schultz 19:05
  2. Andrew Ference 17:48
  3. Jeff Petry 17:38
  4. Phil Larsen 16:33
  5. Martin Marincin 16:19
  6. Anton Belov 15:25
  7. Ladislav Smid 15:20
  8. Nick Schultz 14:29
  9. Mark Fraser 13:50
  10. Oscar Klefbom 13:32

Interesting to see who the coach actually values, isn’t it? When we discuss ‘best Oilers defensemen’ this season, it’s likely the answers will have a wide range. I’m onside with Petry, and yet Dallas Eakins—given the choice—would rather use Schultz for two additional minutes per game. Schultz also leads in total time on ice, time on ice per game, total shifts per game and length of shift.

Justin Schultz is the Oilers top defensive option at even strength and on the power play.

justin schultz player card mar 30

Schultz is getting enormous icetime, his Corsi Rel for 5×5 % is 42.9 and that’s about three per cent worse than his mates. In summary, the Oilers have in effect taken a player who is not close to their best one and entrusted him with 19 minutes a night (or, one period per game at evens) to make a difference.

And this is his second season doing this, so we’re creating a scene that is value negative. We’re not 200 games into his career, but Justin Schultz has some issues as a possession player—and that should be an area of strength.

SO?

petry capture

The Oilers have two RFA players this summer of note along the blue.

  • Justin Schultz (Annual average salary, including bonuses): $3,775,000
  • Jeff Petry (Annual average salary, including bonuses): $1,750,000

Petry signed a shorter term deal last night for a lower amount, and now that the bridge deal is over he’ll look to cash in. Schultz had a base salary of $925,000 this season, but it’s extremely unlikely Edmonton will be able to sign him for a reasonable number. Last September, Jonathan Willis looked at signing Schultz long term and came up with a 7-year deal at $4.75 million per season.

The article is here

Schultz has not enjoyed a breakout season and the actual dollar amount might be less, but how much less? If Edmonton wants to land a big time defender—let’s say Andrei Markov—to bridge the gap between the kids and the now, how much is too much?

And if they do land Markov, and sign Schultz long term for $4 million a year (I’m estimating here), then is there enough left for Petry?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

hayek12

I’ve been operating under the assumption that Edmonton plans to proceed with Petry-Schultz as the RH side of their blueline. However, with Aaron Ekblad in their sights and a need to improve the LH side of the blue with a Markov (or Hainsey, or both), Jeff Petry may be the player who feels the squeeze.

Can the Oilers afford to sign both Schultz and Petry long term, while also adding a Markov and an Ekblad? I don’t think they can, and if it follows that Justin Schultz is part of the rebuild, where then does that put Jeff Petry?

  • dougtheslug

    “In summary, the Oilers have in effect taken a player who is not close to their best one and entrusted him with 19 minutes a night (or, one period per game at evens) to make a difference. ”

    By “the Oilers”, I assume you mean the coach.

    What does it all mean?

    That the Oilers players and their fans have been subjected to slightly less than NHL calibre coaching for the duration of this lamentable, forgettable season.

    And if we get more of the same next year, expect more of the same.

    • Krusher

      Never should have let Tom Rennie go. He managed players ice time more appropriately than anyone we’ve had the last 5 years.

      Funny how he is good enough to be the right hand man to that guy in Detroit who also coached Team Canada but wasn’t the solution here…. But, what do I know. The trend here is to hire coaches who’ve never done it before in the worlds best league, and stiffle any creativity any of the players have for the sake of drilling home system play like gap control last year or swarm this year….

  • Sevenseven

    Markov wants a 4 year deal. I think it is too long for a 35 year old defenseman, but the oil sure could use him. The oil are in a tough position with legitimate talent coming (Nurse, maybe Ekblad) and just breaking in, and no real talented veterans to show them the way. The Ference and Gagner dollar amounts might really bite Macts and really restrict his ability to fix the defense situation. To bad they love Schultz so much. I have a feeling he might get overpaid to stay here.

  • hankthetank

    what is this “upside and potential” stuff? an upside for Schultz would be an extra 40 lbs of muscle and a concentrated dose of nasty bastard. jmho.

  • LT (or anyone else):

    Do you find it remotely plausible that, if EDM has to choose between Petry and Schultz (I’m not sure they do, but for the sake of argument), that they would choose to keep Petry, believing that (a) he’s the better player today, and potentially could remain so going forward (b) he’s likely to be cheaper since he’s unlikely to put up the point totals of Schultz and (c) Schultz may carry more trade value than Petry?

    • Spoils

      I believe that JS is going to be traded to the Flyers this summer. The Flyers blue line is so slow and cannot move the puck at all.

      The Oilers need a second line center in return. Philly has Giroux and Brayden Shenn as their 1-2. Coutourier is the guy they can afford to trade. The have Scott Laughton. They need a more reliable 2 way center on their 3rd line.

      I really think that come draft day JS is a Flyer.

  • 15w40

    Flushing Petry at this point right now would be a mistake in my opinion. If he was a necessary piece in a deal for an upgrade on the blueline then sure but otherwise it makes no sense to trade our best player at our weakest position. He’s not a top-pairing guy but he’s the best that we have right now. Which means we’ll probably trade him and continue to throw teenagers into the deep end and hope they learn to swim.

  • 15w40

    I would say the only circumstance that Markov comes to Edmonton is on a massive overpay.

    A player in his position would likely rather be a bit contributor even a 12 to 15 minutes a night on a contending team than relied on heavily on an infinibuild scenario.

    The Oilers look primed to screw themselves out of Ekblad as well. The Sabres might pass on him but I can’t imagine the Panthers will.

    If the Oilers all of the sudden find a groove and string together even a .500 record in the last games they will probably surpass Florida on the draft chart.

    Schultz should not be an untouchable when they are searching for a proven top 2 defenseman or a heavier centreman. The most currency the Oilers have right now is in young defensemen.

  • 15w40

    IMO J Schultz is one of the few players on the team whose play has improved this year. Still a long, long way to go but he is only around 120 games into his career.

    If they can only keep one of Schultz or Petry, I would keep Shultz. A lot more upside and potential to his game.

  • Anyone else tired about reading about oiler players “potential” and “long term contracts that will eventually be god value”

    Lets start getting “proven talent” around here. Potential doesn’t seem to be working out.

    • pkam

      Getting “proven talent”? We are having problem getting just “potential”.

      You speak like all the “proven talents” are lining to join the Oilers. Perhaps you can make it happen if you were the GM.

  • Spoils

    The upside Schultz brings to the table is just too big to ignore. We can’t let him go just because he is being mishandled by the current mgt. Let’s fire the mgt and not give away our assets. Look how tough it is to get a top notch D right now. What is the market asking?

    Also, despite all the chatter about our 3 first overall forwards, I think the D will be the reason the Oil win in the 2018-2020 range, and I think Schultz will be a big part of that D:

    Ekblad, Nurse, Kelfbom, Schultz

    I think that makes a compelling D core once they mature. maybe it is not until 2020, but Hall will still only be around 28 at that time, sooo let’s keep our eye on the real prize (Stanley)

    GOil!

  • D

    I was really hoping that Justin Schultz would be this generation’s version of my favourite hockey player of all time (or at least a reasonable facsimile). Still hoping, but as of right now, the trend lines are not pointing in that direction.

  • 15w40

    They can not afford to deal or mess around with Petry. He’s in over his head right now as he’s expected to be the #1 or 2 in the absence of one right now, but there’s no question that he’s a good young d-man who would still be in the top 3-4 on many other NHL teams and we can’t really say that about any other guy we have right now.

    On many nights he’s still easily better than Schultz and it’s going to be one heck of a sticky issue for MacT to work with. If Schultz gets more money than Petry without the numbers to back it, you’re probably going to begin the process of souring that relationship. And of course, if you don’t give Schultz the money I suppose he would feel entitled to you start the process of burning that bridge too.

    Schultz needs another 2 year bridge contract if he wants big numbers and I’d be comfortable with Petry getting Smid’s contract to be honest.

    One thing for sure: management can not give Schultz more money in this situation. The last thing we need is another Tom Gilbert contract scenario.

  • D

    Both guys play a soft brand of hockey. Ultimately, I think Schultz is the guy you keep because of bigger upside. People have to remember he’s only played 2 years and has been forced to be a top 2 guy because of all the bonehead moves made by Tambellini and 6Rings. For the club to be successful, they don’t need both Petry and Schultz long term. One will suffice and I think Schultz is the guy. I think Perry will be packaged in a trade at some point.