Being traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 would be an upgrade for just about any player, yet few needed a change more than Justin Schultz did.
The hyped defenseman was largely a bust in Edmonton, and as Schultz noted to the Hockey News, Oilers fans let him know it.
“It’s not a lot of fun getting booed in front of your home fans,” Schultz said. “It’s pretty tough to enjoy yourself when that’s happening.”
Schultz admits that he made a fake Twitter account because his actual profile drew so much heckling. Yeah, that’s pretty bad.
Now, Schultz hasn’t been a superstar for the Penguins, but he’s been able to help a defense that seems to pull off the opposite of his Edmonton experiences. With the Oilers, Schultz was often exposed; in Pittsburgh, the Penguins have the luxury of maximizing the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of the likes of Schultz and other seemingly flawed defensemen.
Those numbers are a touch outdated, yet the point is clear: the Penguins are able to protect Schultz, allowing him to flourish.
NHL GMs may want to note the “buyer beware” signs there as Schultz may hit free agency, but the defenseman himself is likely just happy to enjoy playing hockey again.
Schultz is just one example of how the Penguins reinvented their lineup through trades