Expect to hear the name Justin Schultz a lot in the coming weeks. The 21-year-old University of Wisconsin defenseman has the option to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 if Anaheim, the team that drafted him 43rd overall in 2008, doesn’t get him under contract by June 1.
It’s not known whether the Ducks will be successful in that regard, but many don’t think they will.
So who is this Schultz kid and why is everyone so excited about him?
“It’s his vision. It’s his composure with the puck. It’s his puck skills,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves told The Province. “And the one thing that’s just a gift is his shot. He has the innate ability to get that puck to the net to allow for rebounds, tip-ins and goals. He’s got what we call a ‘smart shot.’
“He can bring the heat, but there are times he recognizes, you have to take a little off to get it at the net. Often times, those are the shots that go in.
“But his shot is very special. That is one unique weapon he’s got.”
Schultz had 16 goals and 28 assists in 37 games for the Badgers this season.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculated Schultz – a West Kelowna, British Columbia, native – could end up in Edmonton, where he’d presumably be able to jump right in and play a regular shift on a team with plenty of top young prospects.