He’s already ripped up the AHL; now Justin Schultz is drawing rave reviews at his first NHL training camp.
“I see a hockey player who has moxie, who has the ability to step up into the play when needed, he has the ability to play strong defensively, he skates strong, he loves the game,” said Oilers assistant coach Steve Smith, per the Associated Press.
“From all accounts from the coaches I’ve talked to he wants the puck, he wants to be on the ice, he wants to be a game-changer. There’s just so many positives I’ve seen to this point.”
Schultz signed a free-agent contract with Edmonton this summer, though not for a lack of interest from other teams.
Playing for AHL Oklahoma City during the NHL lockout, the 22-year-old defenseman piled up 48 points in 34 games, second in league scoring behind teammate Jordan Eberle.
But despite those impressive stats, Schultz knows the NHL isn’t the AHL.
“I’ve got to be a little smarter,” he said, per the Edmonton Journal. “Down in the AHL, I was maybe jumping up into the play at some bad times. Guys are better up here and they’re going to capitalize on odd-man rushes.
“I’m not going to change my game; but I’ll definitely be a little smarter.”