A while ago Brough wrote about the saga of Anaheim prospect Justin Schultz, the 21-year-old University of Wisconsin defenseman drafted 43rd overall at the 2008 draft. One of the best talents in collegiate hockey, Schultz had reached a negotiation stalemate with the Ducks and had until June 1 to reach a deal before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Today, we’ve got an update (courtesy TSN’s Bob McKenzie) — Schultz is reportedly leaving Wisconsin.
“Word out of Wisconsin is ANA draft Justin Schultz filed paperwork to quit school,” McKenzie tweeted. “Neither Ducks nor Schultz’s reps responding for comment. If Schultz has indeed de-registered from school, ANA has exclusive 30-day window to sign him.
“If unsigned after 30 days, he’s UFA. If UFA, Schultz cannot sign until July 1, but is free to talk to any teams immediately upon expiry of ANA’s 30-day exclusivity window.”
If you’re wondering why this is a big deal, it’s because Schultz is considered a special player (16 goals and 28 assists in 37 games this year.)
Badgers head coach Mike Eaves — father of Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves — told The Province what made the kid so special.
“It’s his vision. It’s his composure with the puck. It’s his puck skills,” Eaves said. “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.”
Teams reportedly interested in Schultz include Edmonton (the Oilers are in desperate need of defensive talent) and Vancouver (Schultz is a native of British Columbia.)