Speaking Of… Justin Schultz

Justin Schultz is a pretty cringeworthy topic around these parts, but I think we need to address the elephant in the room: Justin Schultz is actually playing some pretty good hockey for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and we should be happy for him. 

In the first ever game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals, Justin Schultz contributed to a crucial goal by shooting the puck perfectly off of a Shark defender’s shin pads — in classic Schultz fashion — only to have the puck land perfectly on Rusts’ stick, who slapped it home making it 1-0 penguins. In all seriousness though, Justin jumped up in the odd-man rush nicely and created a scoring chance by doing what he’s been doing best, shooting the puck on net. Along with the assist, Schultz took advantage of the extra ice time he got from Trevor Daley’s injury by logging some important power play minutes. In total, he skated just under 18 minutes, the third most out of the Penguins defencemen. 

Justin looked calm and relaxed on the blue line, something we’re not really used to seeing from him. It’s easy to continue to make fun of him as some Oiler fans may be angry with how he played with us, and jealous with how he’s succeeding elsewhere. But did we really expect anything different?

We can all agree that when Justin Schultz came to Edmonton, expectations were through the roof. This is understandable, as he was an all-star college player. The problem was that he was thrown on the team being forced to lift way more than he could handle. Not a lot of rookie NHL defencemen play on the top pairing. Schultz did though, and he suffered because of it. Things got so bad that he essentially got boo’d out of Edmonton. Schultz never got the opportunity to develop himself properly, but now he has.

I couldn’t be more thrilled when Schultz got traded. Mostly because I was sick of watching him set up the other team with one-timer opportunities in front of Talbot. But also,be cause I think Schultz deserves a second chance. He wasn’t getting that in Edmonton, and with the way things were going, it was unlikely that he would be getting it at all in the near future. This was a situation where it was mutually beneficial to cut ties with him.

But OF COURSE out of all the places to be traded, it’s Pittsburgh. A team where he could play sheltered defensive minutes behind a world class defenceman like Kris Letang. A team that’s been eyeing a second Stanley Cup for seven years. It’s pretty much a dream come true for Justin Schultz. All he’s doing now is playing his game. He has no pressure from anyone to put up points, and most importantly, nobody’s booing him during the pre-game player announcements. Although it’s easy to carry a grudge over to his new team, it’s nice to see him finally contributing and making a difference out there. 

A few months ago Schultz was arguably the biggest defensive liability on our team next to Nikita Nikitin. But now he’s just three wins away from lifting the Stanley Cup above his head, something I feel would be hilarious, appropriate closure for Oiler fans. 

North x NorthGretz Podcast

This week the boys are joined by the newest member of Oilersnation, Kyla the Intern! Chris recaps his tryout with the Edmonton Prospects baseball team, the gang talks about the resurrection of Justin Schultz, before diving into the season finale of 60 Days In, before jumping into another life affirming round of Ask The Idiots!

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  • Oiler Al

    SPEAKING OF….. Penguins blue line!

    Cole, Dumoulin,Lovejoy,Matta,Schultz Daley..

    These are not household names, yet here they are all playing in the Stanley Cup! Prior to this season, the six above do not have 70 playoff games amongst them. Letang, alone, has over 100 playoff games on his own.

    Of the six ,four are lefties.

    Here is the rub, would Oilers make the playoffs with these guys as their D-man? Or would you trade
    these six for Oilers six.

    Heck I would throw Letang into the mix [ the only legit defender really on the Pitts team] and they still would not make it to the playoffs.

    PS. Penquins have a 22 yr. old rookie in net.

  • Oiler fan in Dallas

    I gotta’ admit that i cringed every time he got on the ice in YEG but in game one he had first unit PP minutes, PK minutes and played against the Sharks big line. No “Jultzing” moments just a relaxed D man that made some pretty good decisions. High expectations and weak supporting cast around him was not good for a kid trying to develop and succeed in the NHL. I am pulling for him and Kessel, two guys that were goats on teams that were just not good (and had many goatworthy players) that are now in the “show” and giggling uncontrollably. Good for them!

    • 2Oilers4

      I really wouldn’t read too much into what Belanger has to say about a team he was on years ago. It’s pretty silly that he would even have anything to say. His on ice performance was not that of a veteran that players should follow. I obviously don’t know what he was like in the locker room, but my guess would be he wasn’t a leader in there either. I really don’t think the core is the problem. The management of this team and coaching of this team was the problem, not teenage Taylor Hall.

    • @Hallsy4

      The Kids did do whatever they wanted. I agree and it’s not hard to see. I think everyone in Edmonton has seen them at the bar numerous times. I once watched a horrible Oil loss at home, and the boys beat me to the pint downtown afterwards lol. Which is why I actually agreed with Kyla’s first article. That being said, Hall seems to have matured (and he’s good), and I don’t think we need to worry about McDavid at all. Leon/Nurse seem committed as well. I’m not against trading any of the core, the more the better if it makes us a better team, and I do believe we need a shakeup. Ebs I think is on his way out, and maybe Nuge. I hope Belanger writes a tell all some day. He’s mad at… Lowe? I am curious why he is so bitter. lol.

      • McRaj

        Yeah I think the only kids he is talking about there is Hall, Nuge, Ebs. Nuge doesn’t seem like a locker room problem kind of guy. Hall better have matured otherwise I take back my stance on not trading him. Eberle needs to be gone. Put him in a package and ship him out. And if Hall is a locker room issue, ship the both of them out of town please.

        I think he is probably mad at the Old Boys Club and whoever gave so much authority to the young kids (perhaps coaching and ownership).

        • Randaman

          He could also just be pissed off about his face off percentage dropping like a lead balloon or the fact that his play absolutely sucked no matter who he was playing with.

          Pot meet kettle?

          • McRaj

            Funny how he ain’t the only player or former player who has said that. Remember Hemsky’s comments, or even Ference. I like how some people on here will absolutely refuse to lay any blame on the players. Wait refuse to lay any blame on them from April to October. Because during the season everyone wants to trade them all but once the season is over, forget all woes. Maybe most Oiler’s fans do deserve this since you see in other market’s losing is not acceptable and there are always consequences. But hey good for you, you keep supporting them until they leave town and then bash them. Or bash every player Except Hall, Nuge, and Ebs. Because you know, they are three of the most elite player’s in the league.

          • Randaman

            No, I have no issues or can’t disagree with anything you have said.

            I just don’t care for Belanger (who sucked by the way) doing it the way he did.

            I for one usually call a spade a spade

          • McRaj

            Yeah I’m sorry, I prob over reacted a bit lol. I’ve just grown tired of reading comments of people always supporting the trio and refusing to lay any blame on them or saying please don’t split up the core.

            If someone could say we guarantee the Oilers to be in the playoffs for the next 15 seasons and win at least one cup but you have to trade McDavid, I would do that even. Because I cheer for the Oilers first, then the name on the back.

    • McPucker

      I believe Belly.

      I have nothing to base this on but I believe Ference feels much the same way. He talked a good game/attitude that first season, and this is why I really like Maroon so far. I believe there’s a change coming and it started with McDavid, then PC and TM.

    • madjam

      After reading it I would think he is bitter that his career was coming to an end and looked for ways to postulate it . A bit of sour grapes for a player in his twilight years to begin with . Seems like he was a senority rules type and had a tough time adjusting to Oilers youth , and them probably giving him a deaf ear seeing as how well he was playing for team . He should know about coming here to his graveyard , as he was well on his way to begin with at age 35 . Not everybody gets along , but most do not let it effect their games on ice . It did seem to effect his game , and now he wants to put/spread blame on everyone else for his failure to produce . Poppycock .

  • Chainsawz

    Happy for Schultz? NOOOOOPE

    Seriously, I’m barely happy with the players on the Oilers, why would I be happy for Schultz?

    Once a team gets to 3 wins, I will turn on the games again. I haven’t watched a period of playoffs that didn’t involve OT yet. Why? I have no positive emotional investment in this at all. 99% of it is neutral. 1% of it is negative and it fully belongs to Kane and Schultz.

    Chris, you probably have the best takes on this site now and are the only hope of keeping this ship afloat. Don’t ruin it with Schultz apologetics.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    If he’s so good playing 18 minutes in PIT why was he so awful playing 20 minutes in EDM?

    I think the fact that he’s playing competent hockey with the Penguins shows that he quit on the Oilers when he was here and shame on him for that man.

    • BobbyCanuck

      For those of you that do not have the time to read this article, below is a synopsis

      Oilers suck because the players don’t care about each other, there are no coaches that teach skills, there are no mentors, they destroy player confidence, they throw their players to the wolves on a nightly basis

      back in 2015 Ray Ferraro the sports announcer said it will take the Oilers 5 years to build a contender, and only if all the stars align in their favour, this was before McDavid, so the stars are indeed aligning for us, and it will not be long before the cultural change is effective

  • Namudi

    Honestly I hate when fans boo the team they are cheering for, because it doesn’t accomplish anything other than make them play worse, but God he was terrible that last game

  • Hockey Buddha

    Schultz lost his confidence in Edmonton, and he bore the brunt of fan frustration. He’s regaining his confidence in Pittsburgh. Good for him. I hope he wins the cup.

    • daryl

      He was a professional hockey player making 4 mil a year. Sorry but he needed to produce instead of just skating. Soft in the corners poor puck possession just doesn’t cut it. You sir are an idiot.

      • Hockey Buddha

        I’m sure if you watched Schultz’s degeneration as a player this season, you’d probably find it difficult to disagree with the statement that he lost his confidence. He had a solid start to the season; he was even laying the body some. Schultz is not the only player on the team, whose confidence eroded as the season progressed; it happened to quite a few players. Losses heaped upon losses can have that effect on a person’s self-esteem. It’s only natural.

        Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever been a competitive athlete or not, at any level, but confidence is a huge factor. Particularly in hockey, if you lack confidence, it effects your decision-making, and it is difficult to do any of the things that you mention with any kind of authority.

        Finally, if I’m an idiot in your eyes for wishing Justin Schultz well, someone who by all accounts is a fine person, then I’ll humbly wear your dunce cap.

  • Spoils

    my big complaint is – why not negotiate a good contract with him and make roster moves to start the year using him properly.

    maybe getting the right contract is impossible but he is a heck of a lot more useful than a 3rd round pick in 2016.

    I’m really grateful that Yak wasn’t traded for a bag of pucks at least.

    We NEED to get fair value for our assets. and having to trade a player for pennies on the dollar only to watch him win contribute to a Stanley Cup winning team…

    great for jultz! weak sauce for us

  • Spoils

    my big complaint is – why not negotiate a good contract with him and make roster moves to start the year using him properly.

    maybe getting the right contract is impossible but he is a heck of a lot more useful than a 3rd round pick in 2016.

    I’m really grateful that Yak wasn’t traded for a bag of pucks at least.

    We NEED to get fair value for our assets. and having to trade a player for pennies on the dollar only to watch him win contribute to a Stanley Cup winning team…

    great for jultz! weak sauce for us

  • Shameless Plugger

    Easy writing day. Write the name Schultz in your headline and bam the comment section is filled right up. Is there gonna be a time we move on from this guy or are we going to beat the dead horse…..er……deader?

  • Valar Morghulis

    I guess the jock sniffers missed games 5-6 vs Tampa where Jultz fell down in the corner going to get the puck with nobody near 100 ft of him.

    I feel so sad at the OT win. The guy is a piece of crap who made $16M for nothing.

    Bagged milk is going for $2.00 now a days. Fock BEEP juice. My mentality is obviously distorted though, I work right above the pint downtown and you dicks will never know me.

  • FireScorpion

    Oiler fans and their treatment of Schultz was embarrassing. Honestly
    But it fits with throwing jerseys onto the ice, the booing of the team as they walk thru the “fans “to the dressing room and the thuggery when last they were in the playoffs. (remember that?) And people wonder why players have Edmonton top of the No Trade lists.

  • Why be pissed at Schultz? He played Top Minutes against the best forwards and his confidence was ultimately shot to hell. When a club like the Oilers have holes through out the line up, players will be slotted in the line up where they do not belong. Schultz was nothing more than a bottom pairing guy and he is now flourishing because he is slotted in the perfect role. Good for him…

  • 3wideinturn4

    Perhaps Oiler’s management needs to take notes again on what is required to develop rookies into young, confident players. I wish Justin Shultz all the best but I would rather see “Jumbo Joe’s” name on the cup.

  • DannyGallivan

    “A team where he could play sheltered defensive minutes behind a world class defenceman like Kris Letang.” says it all. It was not JS that failed the team but the team that failed JS by putting an unseasoned pro player in top minutes thereby setting him up for failure. I believe it was because we had no choice and not because of incompetence (though there was plenty of that i.e. we left ourselves with no choice)

    We desperately need to fix our D with one proven top 2 Right D and a proven top 4 Right D. then we will be able to develop our young D players properly.

  • Oilers Rule

    The problem is and always has been the forwards. Until the forwards are held accountable to playing a responsible two-way game, any defensemen brought in no matter how well paid or regarded, will just get chewed up and spit out as failures in Edmonton. Time for the new management to clean out the failed core, replace them with better all around players, then get down to addressing the deficiencies on d. Maybe our d aren’t as bad as everyone believes with a better TEAM in front of them?

    With proper coaching and player utilization Shultz has played well, ditto for Marcinin playing for the Leafs where he also proved himself to be a serviceable NHL’er and improved by leaps and bounds this season. I’m not 100% convinced Chiarelli won’t continue throwing out the babies with the bath water anymore, but have my fingers crossed the loyal fans will finally start seeing a turnaround take root next season. After all, it can’t get any worse can it?????

  • KACaribou

    Classic example of giving up on a guy too soon, and not handling him right in the first place.

    It would take a big man to wish this scapegoat well after sh#tting on him for years. It would take a big man in Schultz to forgive Oil fans.

    Like they say though, revenge is a dish best served cold.

    OR… Shultz from Hogan’s Heroes: “I hear noszzing. I see noszzing”).