Justin Schultz Signs One-Year Deal

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The Edmonton Oilers and Justin Schultz have managed to avoid arbitration, with the two parties agreeing to a one-year deal on Wednesday. 

This is not a surprising development. Despite the Oilers’ decision to elect for arbitration, there was no discernible benefit for the team in going through the process if it could be avoided. Schultz was guaranteed equivalent or superior money to the $3.675 million he made in 2014-15 and so there was no real upside to engaging in an adversarial arbitration hearing when the money was going to be within a very small window anyway. 

$3.9 million represents an overpay for Schultz, but it was not an overpay of Peter Chiarelli’s making. When then-general manager Craig MacTavish offered Schultz a one-year contract last summer, he guaranteed that this year’s contract decision was going to be ugly. 

Here’s what we wrote at the time

If Schultz has a poor year, Edmonton will have to decide between qualifying him at an ugly number based on his $3.675 million contract and letting him go for nothing (there is a third, rarely-used option – club-elected arbitration in the hopes of knocking back his salary). In other words, Schultz is guaranteed the choice of significant money or free agency even if he has a garbage year; that’s a nice place to be.

That’s the situation Chiarelli found himself in this summer. Schultz was going to get paid because of the decisions MacTavish made last summer and so he was.

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The upside is that this deal now opens up a second buyout window for the Oilers. From article 13 of the NHL Standard Player Contract: 

For Clubs who have Club or Player elected Salary Arbitration filings pursuant to Article 12, within the forty-eight (48) hour period beginning on the third day following the later of: (i) the Club’s receipt of its last salary arbitration award; or (ii) settlement of its last case (provided such award was received or such settlement occurred prior to 7:00 p.m. New York time; awards or settlements that occurred or were received at or after 7:00 p.m. New York time will be deemed to have occurred or received the following business day for purposes of this provision).

Had the Oilers elected for clawback arbitration with Schultz, they would not have opened up a second buyout window, but because of the mechanism they chose this window will open for 48 hours starting on Saturday (Full details here).

That’s another possible benefit to getting Schultz’s contract settled early – it means the Oilers will head into their buyout window while some significant free agents are still out there, potentially affording them the option of adding one or more of those players with the cleared cap space. 

This deal may not look so bad next year if Schultz can be a useful member of a productive power play. New head coach Todd McLellan has a track record of making the man advantage work and Schultz is likely to be his best blue line option. It’s still paying for potential, and thus it’s still a bad contract, but there should certainly be room for Schultz to grow after a disastrous 2014-15. 

Still, this deal would seem to be less about Schultz and more about the need to clear out some bodies. Nikita Nikitin is the obvious candidate for a buyout, but he isn’t the only one. Andrew Ference is certainly worth considering and some would argue that Teddy Purcell should be in the conversation as well. As far as I can tell from reading the CBA (as always I am not a lawyer) the Oilers can buyout more than one player, but are limited to three buyouts outside the regular period over the life of the CBA. 

It’s going to be an interesting weekend in Edmonton. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Wax Man Riley

    I just went to the Oilers site. What a complete joke. Quote from the site :

    “Lowe has been instrumental in the renewed success of the team both on and off the ice and will continue to work towards the continued success of the franchise in his new role.”

    Success “on the ice”. 24 fricken wins is a success? The worst in franchise history. No wonder no one can take the Oil seriously. These guy are still the laughing stock of the leaugue by posting this BS.

  • Franson and Ehrhoff not having deals at all yet, obviously. Paul Martin and Oduya both got less dollars and less term; both are older, obviously, but play fairly similar styles

    Franson and Ehrhoff not having signed yet means nothing because we have no idea why they haven’t signed. Sekera and Petry are very comparable players and Petry is younger. Martin and Oduya were never getting that kind of deal at their age.

    All of this was predictable (and predicted by many) before the signings occurred, so I don’t see how any of those deals reflect on the Petry deal in any way.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Oh, ok. I guess we’ll just ignore the rest of my post, and also all the various stories pointing out how unusual this free agent period was in terms of contract restraint. Obviously Montreal will never regret paying Petry $5.5 per when, if they’d waited, they probably could’ve gotten him to sign for 500k or a million less.

      • My question was which signings make you think MTL might regret their decision. Those were the signings you mentioned. The rest of your post was irrelevant and redundant.

        Petry was not going to be signed for 4.5M. Mid 30’s players failing to get huge contracts has no bearing on what teams will give a 27 year old on his first UFA deal. Petry, and most of the others, have gotten what people predicted they would get, so I’m not sure how you think this would affect MTL’s opinion of the deal. When they refer to restraint they are talking about the lack of really terrible deals, not that there were a bunch of especially cheap deals.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The softest guy in the league by a country mile..he doesn’t even go into scrims to hold a player back. I can’t stand the guy. Chia needs to get rid of that delusional d bag Mac T.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The softest guy in the league by a country mile..he doesn’t even go into scrims to hold a player back. I can’t stand the guy. Chia needs to get rid of that delusional d bag Mac T.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The softest guy in the league by a country mile..he doesn’t even go into scrims to hold a player back. I can’t stand the guy. Chia needs to get rid of that delusional d bag Mac T.

    • JackB

      To “He Who Knows”
      It is about time that someone responds to absolutely ridiculous rants by some posters.

      1. I agree to ONLY ONE PART of your post: “Chia needs to get rid of that delusional d bag Mac T” but not entirely. MacT did not know how to properly handle new players. Who in their right mind would take a 22 yr old NHL rookie defenseman and immediately put him in a first pairing role? Most knowledgeable managers and coaches (we unfortunately had Eakins, not an experienced coach, and a “yes man” for MacT) bring their rookies along slowly, sheltering them from difficult minutes until they develop.

      2. Schultz has the abilities to become a first pairing D

      Quotes from Chris Westcott’s recent blog:
      (Taken without permission – sorry Chris)

      The Oilers blueliner told Bob Stauffer that he wants to play with an edge like Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. That pushback starts this season, according to Schultz.

      Justin Schultz has the potential to be a high-end offensive weapon on the blueline for the Oilers. He flashed that potential playing in the American Hockey League during the 2012-13 season when he had 48 points (18-30-48) in 34 games. He then put up 27 points in 48 games during his lockout-shortened NHL rookie season.

      “It’s something that’s what I’ve always had to do in the off-season: get stronger and more explosive,” Schultz said on Oilers Now. “Definitely one of the things (the Oilers) communicated to me was getting more powerful in that aspect of my game.”

      “I think the one-year deal makes sense,” Schultz said on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer. “It gives me another year to prove what I’ve got. If I have a good year then hopefully I can get a longer term deal and be in Edmonton for a long time. I know exciting things are coming here and it’s just the start of it. Hopefully it’s a big year here.”

      “Obviously, I can play better,” said Schultz. “I was very inconsistent last year and even the year before. It’s about bringing my best game every night and playing like the player I’ve played like in the past, that I know I can play like. It’s going to be a big year for me. I’m excited.”

    • JackB

      To “He Who Knows”
      It is about time that someone responds to absolutely ridiculous rants by some posters.

      1. I agree to ONLY ONE PART of your post: “Chia needs to get rid of that delusional d bag Mac T” but not entirely. MacT did not know how to properly handle new players. Who in their right mind would take a 22 yr old NHL rookie defenseman and immediately put him in a first pairing role? Most knowledgeable managers and coaches (we unfortunately had Eakins, not an experienced coach, and a “yes man” for MacT) bring their rookies along slowly, sheltering them from difficult minutes until they develop.

      2. Schultz has the abilities to become a first pairing D

      3. Our new management obviously sees some potential in Schultz and are giving him a last chance to show his potential – and he wont be handled by “Dumb and Dumber” – he be handled by one of the best coaches in the NHL – won’t it be great (for him and for us) if returned to a 48 point scorer in 34 games (like he did in the AHL!!) – Chiarelli and McLellan are going to try to do what’s best for the team (and maybe salvage a young man’s career – THAT’S WHAT GOOD MANAGEMENT DO!!)

      Quotes from Chris Westcott’s recent blog:
      (Taken without permission – sorry Chris)

      The Oilers blueliner told Bob Stauffer that he wants to play with an edge like Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. That pushback starts this season, according to Schultz.

      Justin Schultz has the potential to be a high-end offensive weapon on the blueline for the Oilers. He flashed that potential playing in the American Hockey League during the 2012-13 season when he had 48 points (18-30-48) in 34 games. He then put up 27 points in 48 games during his lockout-shortened NHL rookie season.

      “It’s something that’s what I’ve always had to do in the off-season: get stronger and more explosive,” Schultz said on Oilers Now. “Definitely one of the things (the Oilers) communicated to me was getting more powerful in that aspect of my game.”

      “I think the one-year deal makes sense,” Schultz said on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer. “It gives me another year to prove what I’ve got. If I have a good year then hopefully I can get a longer term deal and be in Edmonton for a long time. I know exciting things are coming here and it’s just the start of it. Hopefully it’s a big year here.”

      “Obviously, I can play better,” said Schultz. “I was very inconsistent last year and even the year before. It’s about bringing my best game every night and playing like the player I’ve played like in the past, that I know I can play like. It’s going to be a big year for me. I’m excited.”

  • Mooseroni

    Good sign by the Oilers despite what is being said, one year to prove hiscalibre should give shultz a kick in the backside – I hope he realizes the kind of work ethic he will need to stay in the show

  • bazmagoo

    No matter how you sliced and dice it, Shultz @ $3.7 mil. is a heck of a lot better than Nikitan @ $ 4.5 mil.

    Been said before here, but playing 18 min a game will make a difference.

    Two questions on the guy,.. his hockey IQ and his PP shot sucks. Both need repairing big time.

  • BabyNugeMonitor

    Jultz is a bum; Oilers would have been better off long term just cutting him and saving the $ for a defenceman who can actually play defence.

    Must be a case of short memories but the video don’t lie – Jultz on the point for 5v4 is 2v1 recipe for the opponent when he marks neither shooter or passer.

    Hope Chiarelli trades him, cuts him, benches him…anything but play him top-four minutes at evens. He’d make a better option as a non-checking winger on the 3rd line. Dude doesn’t play defense anyways.

    Good riddance (some day).