The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired defenseman Justin Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers, in exchange for a third-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
The much maligned 25-year-old defenseman has been at the center of trade rumors and speculation for some time, and now his time in Edmonton, which started with so much hope, has come to an end.
Parting ways appears to be the best option for both parties.
He’s a pending restricted free agent at the end of the season, with a cap hit of $3.9 million, as per General Fanager.
There was great anticipation when Schultz first joined the Oilers as a free agent in 2012. He chose Edmonton over a whole host of suitors and the hype surrounding the start of his career in that market was considerably high.
(His AHL coach during the lockout compared Schultz with defensemen Drew Doughty and Scott Niedermayer.)
But his development with the Oilers hit numerous snags. He was a minus-78 combined over four seasons on some bad teams in Edmonton. This season, he has the fourth worst goals-against per 60 minutes (2.90) among NHL defensemen with more than 500 minutes of ice time at five-on-five this season, as per stats.hockeyanalysis.com.
He goes to Pittsburgh with the possibility of becoming a reclamation project.
“He’s very good on the offensive side. He still needs some work on the defensive side,” said Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
“Different teams have different approaches.
“Our approach was to go with more speed, more transition game from our backend. This is a player that will be able to help that.”
In 45 games this season, he’s scored just three goals and 10 points. But he’s still billed as an offensive defenseman with a right shot and perhaps a change of scenery may be the best thing for him.