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Who is this Justin Schultz kid everyone’s talking about?

May 16, 2012, 2:32 PM EDT

Justin Schultz Getty Images

Expect to hear the name Justin Schultz a lot in the coming weeks. The 21-year-old University of Wisconsin defenseman has the option to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 if Anaheim, the team that drafted him 43rd overall in 2008, doesn’t get him under contract by June 1.

It’s not known whether the Ducks will be successful in that regard, but many don’t think they will.

So who is this Schultz kid and why is everyone so excited about him?

“It’s his vision. It’s his composure with the puck. It’s his puck skills,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves told The Province. “And the one thing that’s just a gift is his shot. He has the innate ability to get that puck to the net to allow for rebounds, tip-ins and goals. He’s got what we call a ‘smart shot.’

“He can bring the heat, but there are times he recognizes, you have to take a little off to get it at the net. Often times, those are the shots that go in.

“But his shot is very special. That is one unique weapon he’s got.”

Schultz had 16 goals and 28 assists in 37 games for the Badgers this season.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculated Schultz – a West Kelowna, British Columbia, native – could end up in Edmonton, where he’d presumably be able to jump right in and play a regular shift on a team with plenty of top young prospects.

  1. esracerx46 - May 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    The cheaper, younger alternative to Ryan Suter.

  2. pone27 - May 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    The big question is, why can’t Anaheim re-sign this kid? Brookbank is the lone Dman who will be a FA, and they have plenty of cap room. I cannot see guys like Blake, Selanne, Hagman really swell up their space and cause this kid to walk off into the sunset.

    That is, unless this kid just doesn’t want to be a part of the Ducks.

    • ray2013 - May 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      Seems like he doesn’t want to be a Duck.

      From what I’ve read, his contract will have to conform to the rookie scale, so he’s not going to make more signing somewhere else.

    • ThatGuy - May 16, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      It’s not that Anaheim doesn’t want to sign him, or have the room. It’s that Schultz, as a 21 year old has the unique oppurtunity to be a free agent, and sign with whatever team he wants. Its a CBA loophole that only really exists for college hockey players, that play until they are older than 21 and it’s been four years since they were drafted.

      There isn’t really any money for schultz to gain from this, as he still has to sign an ELC which caps the amount of money he can make. He may get a couple hundred thousand extra in bonus money, but that’s about it. It’s all about him wanting the oppurtunity to play where he wants. The Ducks would love to sign him.

  3. hockinj25 - May 16, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Come to Detroit and play with fellow Badger Brendan Smith.

  4. kitshky - May 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I still don’t know why we can’t just call it Westbank …

    • elvispocomo - May 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      I still do.

    • taytay099 - May 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Westbank4Life.

  5. zach28 - May 16, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    id love to see him hold out and sign with the leafs to play with his old D-partner jake gardiner

  6. potatoesogrady - May 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Also been a lot of chatter about his former teammates at Wisconsin, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, trying to talk him into signing with the Rangers. And man oh man how great it would be to add a right hander who is a genuine scoring threat from the blueline to an already talented young back end.

  7. lordfletcher - May 16, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Schultz rumor to Edmonton has been long going. How is this just leaking out here?

    I am hoping he decides to go elsewhere but it has been almost certain he is going to EDM for a few months now.

    • 14sincisor - May 23, 2012 at 1:44 AM

      It’s not a rumour, it was speculation from Bob Mckenzie that Schultz MIGHT have interest in going to Edmonton because of their good young core. Unless you consider Richard Cloutier and inside source for rumours, there have been no RUMOURS of Schultz going to EDM, just speculation of interest.

      Pierre Lebrun also speculated he wants to go to the Canucks, because he’s from Kamloops and grew up a Canuck fan.

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