RFA defenseman Justin Schultz opted not to file for arbitration on Sunday.
On Monday, the Oilers did.
More, from the Edmonton Journal:
The Oilers elected to take defenceman Justin Schultz to arbitration to reach a contract conclusion. It also triggers an opportunity for the club to buy out a player making more than $2.75 million, which would free up more salary-cap room.
Players and NHL teams can continue to negotiate right up until they reach the arbitrator’s doorstep while the buyout window opens briefly for the club given the uncertainty of what the impact a new deal would have on the cap.
Schultz, 25, is coming off a year in which he scored 31 points in 81 games, but was a liability defensively; in addition to an ugly minus-17 rating, he had poor possession metrics and saw his ice time drop by nearly a minute, compared to the season prior.
The rub with Schultz, of course, is his salary — he earned $3.675 million last season, which is quite a bit given his precarious hold on a spot in Edmonton’s top-six defense. The additions of Andrej Sekera and Griffin Reinhart this offseason could greatly impact Schultz, as could the expected promotion of Darnell Nurse to the NHL level.
While a buyout seems unlikely — TSN’s Ryan Rishaug figures a deal will be reached — it does speak to how far Schultz has fallen. In 2012, the Oilers won the “sweepstakes” to sign Schultz after he opted not to ink with Anaheim, and in his first season in Edmonton he finished seventh in Calder voting, after scoring 27 points in 48 games.
From the StarTribune’s Mike Russo:
The Mike Reilly sweepstakes are coming to an end this afternoon and unless something backfires, he will be signing with the Wild.
Russo cites sources that say Reilly will sign a two-year, $1.85 million deal (plus bonuses).
The 21-year-old Minnesota native and ex-Gopher was originally drafted 98th overall in 2011 by the Blue Jackets.
However, he opted not to sign with Columbus, thus freeing him to sign elsewhere, a la Justin Schultz in 2012 and, last summer, Kevin Hayes.
Reilly’s dad, Michael, is a limited partner in the Wild.
The Chicago Blackhawks were recently the reported favorites to sign Reilly.
University of Michigan senior Zach Hyman — taken by Florida in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — has informed the Panthers he won’t be signing an entry-level deal with the club.
The move will allow Hyman to become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16, though the Panthers may trade his rights before then. Regardless, the Sunrise-based team will be losing out on a fairly promising prospect; Hyman led the Wolverines in scoring this year, with 54 points in 37 games, and finished as a Hobey Baker finalist.
This move is not unlike what Kevin Hayes and Justin Schultz did with their drafting teams (Chicago and Anaheim, respectively.) Both waited for the mid-August deadline to pass, then became UFAs and signed elsewhere (with the Rangers and Oilers, respectively.)
It’s a scenario that could play out again this summer with Columubus draftee Mike Reilly, a University of Minnesota junior who’s announced his intention to turn pro next year, but has yet to sign his ELC with the Blue Jackets.
Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers are at a crossroads right now, so a “bridge” contract makes some sense. The team announced that they signed the young winger to a two-year deal on Monday.
The contract is worth $5 million overall, which shapes up to be $2.5 million per season. This is an affordable compromise, and maybe the first of at least two with key young players for the Oilers, as Edmonton still must take the next step with polarizing defenseman Justin Schultz.
Yakupov, 21, had just finished the final season of his entry-level contract after being the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. It’s been a bumpy development process so far for the Russian forward. Plus/minus is a widely derided stat, yet it might most succinctly tell the story of how tough things have been for him at times: Yakupov is a -72 for his short career, including an all-time low of -35 in 2014-15.
That’s by no means Yakupov’s fault alone, mind you.
The biggest thing is that he’s been streaky (at best) when it comes to scoring, yet the good news is that he’s shown some improvement to close out this past season. He scored 21 points in his last 31 games versus just 12 in the first 50 games.
There’s plenty of time for a breakthrough, and if it happens, the Oilers are getting a nice (short-term) bargain.
The Edmonton Oilers plan to offer restricted free agent defenseman Justin Schultz a one-year deal.
Schultz appeared in 81 games for the Oilers this season registering 31 points to go along with a minus-17.
The 24-year-old signed a one-year, $3.675 million contract last August.
Following the deal, GM Craig MacTavish said that he believed Schultz had Norris Trophy potential in the future. The Norris talk was quickly shelved when Schultz was a healthy scratch in November.
Once Jeff Petry was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens at the deadline, Schultz led all Oilers in ice time averaging 22:37 a night.