TAKE FIVE

schultz capture1

Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan are trying to win hockey games, but this is also the time of year when showcasing trade assets comes into view. What should we look for?

ABOUT SATURDAY NIGHT…

oilers d last night on

These are the even-strength numbers from Saturday, they are sorted by EV TOI. Todd McLellan used the Sekera—Davidson pairing against the toughest line (to my eye) and despite having possession for less than 50 percent of the time, they survived. The Oilers want to be pushing the river during games, winning the possession battle, but the lack of a stud No.1 or top pairing means they need to saw off certain parts of the game. In the rest of the contest, the club needs to shine.

That second pairing, though. Interesting. Darnell Nurse and Justin Schultz had some tough moments (well, Nurse did) but helped move the puck north—several times via the righty. That is news, because if the Oilers can unlock Justin Schultz, that should improve his trade value—which is most certainly low at this time.

PASSING TIME

Schultz impressed me in the Carolina game, I have to say. He passed better, carried the puck well, and perhaps most importantly, looked more confident. That is not reflected in the EV TOI (new man Brad Hunt played more) but I felt the 19 minutes had good arrows and were heading in a good direction.

WHAT NOW?

We should be looking for spikes in performance and increased usage. If the Oilers are to showcase Schultz, we can look for:

  • Increased TOI (he was down to 17:39 Saturday, 20:07 for the whole year)
  • More shots on goal (1.23/game this year, 1.50/game last season)
  • Increased PP TOI (he is 2:16 a game this year, 2:47 last season)

One area we are seeing a spike:

  • More time with Hall line (5:17 a game this year, 3:29 last season)

WHAT WILL THEY GET FOR HIM?

Jonathan Willis wrote an excellent article Sunday for ON, giving solid estimates on many current Oilers. I would suggest a third-round selection is possible, but we may see a prospect (like Mark McNeill) who can add depth to the organization right away. Edmonton needs pro depth based on how this season has been rolling.

Jonathan’s article is here.

Schultz has value, but he also has a major price tag moving forward. There is a chance the team trading for him will find negotiating a value contract impossible based on his current salary and contract history (Schultz got paid early and unless a team walks him, will continue to be paid out of line with his actual value).

ONE FINAL THING

Justin Schultz has struggled badly as an Oiler and I do believe he will not be here in the fall. That said, I think a team with a veteran coach, structure and a veteran mentor for 19 will see far better production. The key for Peter Chiarelli is finding value for this player. A big part of getting value is pumping those boxcars. Last night, with
Darnell Nurse, Justin Schultz looked as good (to my eye) as he has in
some time. More of that could mean a better pick or prospect comes in the door. We have eight weeks to wait.