Justin Schultz Traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins


The Justin Schultz era has ended. This afternoon it was announced that Justin Schultz was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 3rd round pick in 2016. Now we begin the healing process.

This truly is a strange day for Oilers fans. When Justin Schultz signed with the Oilers as a free agent in the summer of 2012 we were all thrilled. The story goes that 26 other teams wanted him, but he wanted to come to Edmonton. For once, a high profiled free agent was choosing Edmonton and he was a player type that the Oilers desperately needed. Puck moving defenseman? Nailed it. Justin Schultz was going to be our ticket to playoff country!

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When Justin Schultz’s pro career shot off like a rocket, down in the AHL, we Oilers fans started expecting the moon. We expected a guy to walk in and change the way the Oilers broke out of their own zone, and it was obvious that the organization expected the same thing. From day one Justin Schultz was spoon fed plenty of minutes regardless of what happened on the ice. Early on in his days in Edmonton, the risk was worth the reward, in terms of ice time, but these days Schultz had become a liability. 

I honestly feel torn when it comes to this trade. Yes, Schultz has been awful but I can’t help but wonder how/if his development has been hampered by the organization. The player should always take most of the blame for playing poorly, but I still wonder if his handling since he was signed prohibited Schultz from living up to his potential. Justin Schultz was never sheltered on the third pairing with the guidance of a veteran defender. He was expected to be “the guy” from day one and it was unrealistic.

I guess what I’m saying is that playing defense is hard, and it’s incredibly rare for a guy to walk into the NHL like he owns the place. Justin Schultz was put in a position to fail form by the organization and fail he did. He was not able to live up to the role that the Oilers needed from him, and he leaves Edmonton a broken man. I honestly think he will be better in Pittsburgh, and wish him the best. He won’t be expected to carry the load for the Penguins and will play on the third pairing where he’s best suited. 

All in all, it’s still a weird day. What started out as a beautiful relationship ended with the player being booed off the ice by the home fans. The fishbowl spits out another victim. 

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I’ll go ahead and say that I’m surprised that Peter Chiarelli was able to get a 3rd round pick for Schultz. With the way the rumour mill had been turning, it looked like the Oilers were going to get a 4th or 5th rounder at best, or maybe some plug prospect that had a better chance of winning the lottery than playing in the NHL. It also looked like Schultz might have gone to LA packaged up with Teddy Purcell.

At the end of the day, a third round pick is probably more than most of us would have expected as a return for Justin Schultz. Smart money would be on Chiarelli using that 3rd round pick between now and the draft as part of a trade to improve the roster, but there can also be value found in the third round with some good scouting (I know… Oilerz). At worst, the Oilers collected an asset for a player that clearly had no future with the team. 

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Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/-
2012-13 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 34 18 30 48 6 8
2012-13 Edmonton Oilers NHL 48 8 19 27 8 -17
2013-14 Edmonton Oilers NHL 74 11 22 33 16 -22
2014-15 Edmonton Oilers NHL 81 6 25 31 12 -17
2015-16 Edmonton Oilers NHL 45 3 7 10 14 -22
NHL Totals 248 28 73 101 50