Tag: Justin Schultz

2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Semifinals

Jackets prospect Reilly going pro — but maybe not for Columbus

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The saga of Blue Jackets draftee Mike Reilly has taken another turn.

Reilly, a Hobey Baker candidate that Columbus took in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, announced he’s leaving the University of Minnesota and will turn pro next season, but played coy as to where he’d sign.

“[I] will not be returning [next season] and will know more after the [World Championships] tournament,” Reilly said, per the Star-Tribune. “I don’t want to talk too much about my situation.

“But I am going to worlds the 25th [of April] and I’m very excited.”

Reilly is expected to be named to Team USA for the Worlds, which will be played in the Czech Republic from May 1-17, allowing him to further stave off a decision about his professional future. If he doesn’t sign with the Jackets before June 1, he becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with a different NHL club.

That’s important, because the 21-year-old defenseman is held in high regard. He’s a two-time All-American that, this season, became the first d-man in nearly 20 years to lead the Golden Gophers in scoring. The Jackets want him in the fold, now, and haven’t been shy about expressing as much.

More on that, from the Dispatch:

[Jackets GM Jarmo] Kekalainen and company have tried hard to woo him.

Last spring, they played host to him at Nationwide Arena for the two home playoff games against Pittsburgh. When the Blue Jackets played in St. Paul, Minn., on Jan. 19, Reilly watched the morning skate with Davidson and Kekalainen. When the Blue Jackets traded defenseman James Wisniewski, Kekalainen mentioned Reilly as a player who has a clearer path to an NHL job.

“Mike Reilly is having a great year in Minnesota,” Kekalainen said. “He’s a prospect we believe in, and he’ll be stepping into some big shoes with our organization. We look forward to getting him signed.”

The feelings don’t appear to be mutual, however. Reilly’s repeatedly deflected questions about signing in Columbus and now, Golden Gophers associate head coach Mike Guentzel is following suit.

“I talked to [Reilly] last week when we had our season-ending meetings. Mike is going to sign, it’s just a matter of who he’s going to sign with. He’s got options,” Guentzel told the Star-Tribune. “He’s going to make a decision sometime in May [or June] what he’s going to do.

“He’s 21 and he’s earned that right and opportunity, and he’s in a good situation. I really respect how much Columbus has tried to go after him and I think he’d be in a good situation there, but he has to make the decision that is best for him.”

Should Reilly balk on signing with Columbus and go unrestricted, he’d be following in the footsteps of Kevin Hayes and Justin Schultz, who spurned the teams that drafted them — the Blackhawks and Ducks — to sign with the Rangers and Oilers, respectively.

It’s also worth noting that Reilly’s dad, also named Mike, is a minority owner of the Minnesota Wild, which has led to speculation that the younger Reilly could opt to sign with his hometown team.

Update: As pointed out in several places, Reilly’s coach at the Worlds is (pending formal announcement) Todd Richards — the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Which could make for an interesting dynamic.

Contract stalemate continues between Columbus, prized prospect Reilly

2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Semifinals
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Doesn’t appear as though there’s been much progress on a deal between the Blue Jackets and star University of Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly.

First, this report from the Columbus Dispatch:

Then this, from TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

“If he wants to, he can say I’m not going back for my final year [at Minnesota] and 30 days later or June 1st — whatever is later — he can declare himself an unrestricted free agent.

“Columbus thinks the world of this guy. He’s a Hobey Baker candidate, a mobile, puck-handling defenseman, but right now there’s no decision imminent on that front. What he’s going to do is finish his academic year at the University of Minnesota, so that means no decision on his future will be forthcoming until we get into May.”

Reilly, 21, was Columbus’ third-round pick (98th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A two-time All-American, he became the first d-man in nearly 20 years to lead the Golden Gophers in scoring and, as McKenzie noted above, is highly coveted by the Blue Jackets.

More on that, from the Dispatch:

[Jackets GM Jarmo] Kekalainen and company have tried hard to woo him.

Last spring, they played host to him at Nationwide Arena for the two home playoff games against Pittsburgh. When the Blue Jackets played in St. Paul, Minn., on Jan. 19, Reilly watched the morning skate with Davidson and Kekalainen. Last week, when the Blue Jackets traded defenseman James Wisniewski, Kekalainen mentioned Reilly as a player who has a clearer path to an NHL job.

“Mike Reilly is having a great year in Minnesota,” Kekalainen said. “He’s a prospect we believe in, and he’ll be stepping into some big shoes with our organization. We look forward to getting him signed.”

Should Reilly balk on signing with Columbus and go unrestricted, he’d be following in the footsteps of Kevin Hayes and Justin Schultz, who spurned the Blackhawks and Ducks to sign with the Rangers and Oilers, respectively.

It’s also worth noting that Reilly’s dad, also named Mike, is a minority owner of the Minnesota Wild, which has led to speculation that the younger Reilly could opt to sign with his hometown team.

Petry’s agent thinks his client will be traded

Jeff Petry
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The Edmonton Oilers are one of the more obvious sellers in this year’s trade market and they got off to an early start by shipping David Perron to Pittsburgh in January for Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round draft pick. It wouldn’t be surprising at this point if defenseman Jeff Petry is also dealt before the March 2 deadline.

Petry is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and while there’s still plenty of time for Edmonton to lock him up, the team doesn’t appear to be moving in that direction.

“We have had no contract negotiations with the Oilers and we’ve expressed that to Jeff,” Petry’s agent, Wade Arnott told the Edmonton Journal. “We expect Jeff will be dealt by the deadline.”

Petry has four goals and 14 points in 56 contests this season. He’s averaged 21:10 minutes per contest, which is second only to Justin Schultz in Edmonton.

It’s worth noting that he’s only 27 years old, so any team that acquires him might be getting more than just a rental if he’ll re-sign with them. To that end, clubs have been reportedly speaking with Arnott to determine if his client would be open to signing with them before July 1 should they get his rights from Edmonton.

Related:

Ducks ‘pretty adamant about trying to add another d-man,’ says Ducks d-man

‘Things are looking up’ for the Oilers

Matt Hendricks
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That was Justin Schultz in the above video, saying how “things are looking up” for his Edmonton Oilers after three straight solid efforts on the road, including last night’s 4-3 overtime win in Montreal over the first-place team in the Atlantic Division.

Edmonton, playing without Taylor Hall for the fifth straight game, ended up outshooting the Habs, 38-26, in Thursday’s contest, one that left Montreal coach Michel Therrien to concede, “We were lucky to get one point.”

It wasn’t just a one-off either. The Oilers played the Islanders close Tuesday, despite losing 3-2, and they won the night before in New Jersey, 2-1, while holding the Devils to just 14 shots.

“That’s three good games in a row for us,” said coach Todd Nelson. “We just want to keep this thing going.”

Now, granted, the Oilers playing well at this point in the season may seem pointless. It may even seem counterproductive, given the incentive to out-terrible the Sabres, finish last overall and guarantee themselves one of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. That said, you can hardly blame the players for trying to win hockey games. That’s their job, and they’ve done enough losing already.

The Oilers take on the Sens Saturday in Ottawa.

Oilers best Sharks in 13-round marathon shootout

Keith Aulie, Nail Yakupov, Derek Roy, Matt Fraser, Matt Tennyson
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The Edmonton Oilers are by far the worst team in the NHL when it comes to protecting a lead established through 40 minutes and tonight looked like it might be another example of that, but they bounced back from their early third period struggles to earn a 5-4 shootout victory.

Edmonton had a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but the Sharks responded with three goals in the first half of the third, including Joe Pavelski’s 27th marker of the season.

For a while it looked like that might be the winner, but Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz managed to even things up in the dying minutes of regulation time.

After overtime failed to solve anything, Edmonton and San Jose settled in for a 13-round shootout. Both Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth and Sharks netminder Antti Niemi stood tall for much of the skills competition, with Fasth denying 12 of 13 skaters. In the end it was Rob Klinkhammer, who has just 20 goals in 151 career games, that managed to end the contest.

The Oilers have now won four of their last six games and have consequently opened a six-point lead over Buffalo in the battle to avoid the NHL basement. The Sabres have lost 14 straight contests.

At the same time, this was a potentially damaging night for Edmonton. The squad lost forwards Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Hall due to injuries, per the Oilers’ Twitter feed. Pouliot was hurt when he took a shot off his foot while Hall re-aggravated the leg injury that kept him out of Edmonton’s previous three contests.