Edmonton Oilers blueliner Justin Schultz has been both dominant and consistent in the AHL. He comfortably leads all rookies and defensemen in points with 46 in just 33 games with the Oklahoma City Barons going into Saturday’s contest.
In the coming days, we will probably find out if the NHL season will be saved or lost and if it’s the prior, Schultz will leave Oklahoma City to start his Oilers career. Before that potentially happens though, he has a shot at tying or breaking a significant record.
As the Oilers pointed out, Schultz needs just two more goals to tie the AHL’s single-season record for a rookie defensemen, which currently sits at 20. Schultz netted his 18th goal on Friday and has found the back of the net five to six times in each of the first three months of the 2012-13 campaign.
The single-season goal-scoring record for a blueliner at any stage of his career is 30, which Schultz might make a run for if the NHL season is lost. He’s also a contender to in the AHL’s scoring race, although teammate Jordan Eberle has opened up a four-point lead.
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: