Justin Schutlz says yes, he can hear the boos from fans at Rexall.
Fortunately for him, he might not have to hear them much longer.
Widely expected to be traded by Monday’s deadline, Schultz — Edmonton’s much-maligned (and pending RFA) blueliner — told the Edmonton Journal he’s having a tough time lately, between his name swirling in rumors and the constant jeering from Oilers fans.
The booing is getting to him, understandably. It’s a low-blow tactic by fans, even if they pay their money. It’s not as bad as throwing jerseys on the ice, but it’s hard to ignore.
“I guess I’m used to it from Anaheim (fans there giving him the business because they drafted him and he didn’t want to sign there, becoming a college free-agent) but, yes it’s disappointing. I have to be better,” he said. “They’re obviously unhappy with my play. It’s up to me to work hard, get better and hopefully get them cheering for me.”
While Schultz wants to get the fans back on his side and re-iterated he “wants to be in Edmonton,” it’s hard to see much of a future for him in the city.
For all his warts, the 25-year-old is still an offensive d-man, with a right-handed shot, that can put points on the board. The Journal also noted that Tampa Bay — a team in need of a righty on the blueline — sent director of player personnel Pat Verbeek for a “rare visit” to Rexall on Tuesday.
Of course, Schultz went minus-3 on Tuesday, and got a less-than-glowing review from head coach Todd McLellan.
“Schultzie didn’t have a good game last night,” McLellan said in the aftermath of a 4-1 loss to the Sens. “He’d be the first one to admit it.”
So yeah. Maybe it’s best for all parties involved if Schultz just moves on.