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Edmonton Oilers sign Justin Schultz to one year deal, avoid arbitration

According to Elliotte Friedman, Schultz will be an Oiler for another year.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few minutes ago Friedman reported this:

As an RFA, Schultz was heading for arbitration to settle the contract but instead, the Oilers have opted to give him a raise of only $225 000. Justin still has lots to prove as an Edmonton Oiler.

Hold up.

Before we start throwing things and smashing keyboards because everyone hates Justin Schultz, let's actually take a look at this deal and see what he has done, and what he can do.

Justin Schultz infamously came to the Edmonton Oilers as a free agent out of college after opting not to sign with the Anaheim Ducks, who selected him in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

As an Edmonton Oiler, Schultz has been what some people amount to a major disappointment. However I am here to tell you not to jump the gun on the 25-year old.

Dom Galamini's HERO charts are fantastic and are able to provide a great look into a players production on the ice, and where they fit in the lineup.

For Justin Schultz, it is clear that he is an offensive defenceman. His offensive point production is fantastic, and is represented by the Goals/60, First Assists/60 and Primary Points/60. On top of that, his CF60 +/- (impact on linemates shot generation), GF60 +/- (Impact on linemates goals) and GF% +/- (impact on linemates goals for percentage of total) show that he is able to help in moving the puck up the ice in order to help create goals and generate shots on the opposing teams net.

Defensively, he is a bit of a mess and that is represented by his CA60 +/- (impact on linemates shot suppression), CF% +/-( impact on linemates puck possession) and GA60 +/- (impact on linemates goals against). He is infamous for some blunders that have caused goals where he can look lost at times. In my opinion, this could be due to poor coaching, but could also mean he just isn't a good defenceman.

Basically what all this means is that he is a liability in his own zone, and an asset in the offensive zone.

What does this all mean?

It means that Justin Schultz has some work to do, but he isn't on his own. With Todd McLellan and Jim Johnson behind the bench, I firmly believe that Schultz will be able to rebound under the new coaching staff.

During the lockout shortened 2012 - 2013 season, Schultz was given the Eddie Shore award for top defenceman in the league while he played half the games of his next closest competitor. Mind you, he did put up 48 points in 34 games. The next highest scoring defenceman that season was Matt Donovan, who put up 48 points in 75 games.

In order for this deal to work out, and for the Oilers to commit to a longer term with Schultz, he needs to significantly improve his defensive game. Like I said before, I firmly believe that with the group of coaches the Oilers currently have this can happen.


As a part of Schultz and the Oilers having filed for arbitration, the team now has a second buyout window that has opened.

From Jonathan Willis:

The upside is that this deal now opens up a second buyout window for the Oilers. From article 13 of the NHL Standard Player Contract:

For Clubs who have Club or Player elected Salary Arbitration filings pursuant to Article 12, within the forty-eight (48) hour period beginning on the third day following the later of: (i) the Club's receipt of its last salary arbitration award; or (ii) settlement of its last case (provided such award was received or such settlement occurred prior to 7:00 p.m. New York time; awards or settlements that occurred or were received at or after 7:00 p.m. New York time will be deemed to have occurred or received the following business day for purposes of this provision).

Had the Oilers elected for clawback arbitration with Schultz, they would not have opened up a second buyout window, but because of the mechanism they chose this window will open for 48 hours starting on Saturday (Full details here).

I would not be surprised to see more moves made from the Oilers brass over the next coming days. As I wrote about during free agent frenzy on July 1st, the Oilers have 9 defenseman who could play next season, but I wouldn't be surprised to see someone bought out.