That Justin Schultz kid everybody’s talking about reportedly quit school

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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.)

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

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These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.