Signing prized prospect Schultz might hinge on guarantees

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There are plenty of teams clamoring for Justin Schultz, the University of Wisconsin defenseman and former Anaheim draftee that appears ready to test free agency.

There’s just one catch.

Because he’ll be signing his first NHL deal, teams can only offer Schultz a standard entry-level contract (complete with performance bonuses) — so in terms of money, all deals will be fairly similar.

As such, teams interested in bringing Schultz aboard will have to get creative in other areas, something ex-Tampa Bay GM Brian Lawton explained to Edmonton’s Team 1260.

Courtesy the Edmonton Journal:

“You can rest assured ten teams will guarantee him a spot on their roster,” Lawton told Jason Gregor of the Team 1260. “If you want to compete for these guys you better understand the environment and you better be aggressive. Because there is no time to not be.

“So if you any chance to get a player like this, you’re gonna unfortunately  going to be out there on a limb in some uncomfortable positions. Because there are things you don’t want to do like guaranteeing a roster spot to a player who has not played in the league.

“But guess what? That is the landscape you’re dealing with. If you’re going to sit at home and say, ‘I’m not going to do that,’ that’s great. But you’re not going to get any players either.”

Even though Schultz has been labeled “a top-four defenseman upon arrival,” you can see how this type of guarantee would differ between *rumored* suitors like the Oilers and Canucks.

See, it’s easier for a team like Edmonton (low on NHL caliber defensemen) to promise Schultz this type of role than it is for, say, Vancouver (who at times was using Keith Ballard as its No. 6 last year.)

Finally — it should be noted the Ducks still have until June 24 to reach a deal with Schultz, though the possibility of him inking with Anaheim sounds unlikely.

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.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

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It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.