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Signing prized prospect Schultz might hinge on guarantees

Jun 13, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT

Justin Schultz Getty Images

There are plenty of teams clamoring for Justin Schultz, the University of Wisconsin defenseman and former Anaheim draftee that appears ready to test free agency.

There’s just one catch.

Because he’ll be signing his first NHL deal, teams can only offer Schultz a standard entry-level contract (complete with performance bonuses) — so in terms of money, all deals will be fairly similar.

As such, teams interested in bringing Schultz aboard will have to get creative in other areas, something ex-Tampa Bay GM Brian Lawton explained to Edmonton’s Team 1260.

Courtesy the Edmonton Journal:

“You can rest assured ten teams will guarantee him a spot on their roster,” Lawton told Jason Gregor of the Team 1260. “If you want to compete for these guys you better understand the environment and you better be aggressive. Because there is no time to not be.

“So if you any chance to get a player like this, you’re gonna unfortunately  going to be out there on a limb in some uncomfortable positions. Because there are things you don’t want to do like guaranteeing a roster spot to a player who has not played in the league.

“But guess what? That is the landscape you’re dealing with. If you’re going to sit at home and say, ‘I’m not going to do that,’ that’s great. But you’re not going to get any players either.”

Even though Schultz has been labeled “a top-four defenseman upon arrival,” you can see how this type of guarantee would differ between *rumored* suitors like the Oilers and Canucks.

See, it’s easier for a team like Edmonton (low on NHL caliber defensemen) to promise Schultz this type of role than it is for, say, Vancouver (who at times was using Keith Ballard as its No. 6 last year.)

Finally — it should be noted the Ducks still have until June 24 to reach a deal with Schultz, though the possibility of him inking with Anaheim sounds unlikely.

  1. danphipps01 - Jun 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    The Canucks could really stand to upgrade, though, so they could be fairly aggressive if they were, indeed, interested. I could see them guaranteeing a spot if they were to go for him, and though I imagine it’d be bottom-pairing, I can still see it being a guarantee. Vancouver’s an attractive destination, certainly moreso than Edmonton will be for at least the duration of a rookie contract. Of course, there will be plenty of other suitors. Tampa and Detroit spring to mind.

    • polegojim - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      The Kid ALREADY looks good in Red and White… it’s natural!

  2. pone27 - Jun 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Really wished the Hawks didn’t sign Oduya and went after this kid…

    But, I am a big Oduya fan, so I am not too upset over it..

  3. davebabychreturns - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I’ll bet former GM Brian Lawton knows all about being aggressive.

    As for the Canucks being unable to make space for Schultz, right now you could say they have a Christian Ehrhoff-sized hole alongside one of the league’s most talented defensemen in Alex Edler that a young offensive-minded, right-shooting defenseman might be able to fill perfectly.

    People can talk about the Oilers young guns and their powerplay unit but the Canucks powerplay is among the best in the league right now and Schultz would be paired with a veteran partner and put in positions to succeed – a stark contrast to whatever the hell they’ll be doing Edmonton this year.

    Anyway, nobody knows what Schultz is thinking at this point. I’m sure teams that have a long track record of putting talented young players in positions to succeed (like the Rangers for example) have a decided advantage.

  4. loinstache - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    The kid is from Kelowna, BC and the Canucks have wanted a young and star-bound D for seemingly ever. If I’m a certain GM coming off a contract extension I’m making sure to sell Vancouver as aggressively as a Chinese realtor.

  5. bladesofsteal - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Gillis traded Hodgson, his first ever pick and the teams top prospect, because he was demanding more ice time, but he’s suddenly going to turn around and guarantee an unproven rookie defenseman a roster spot? And does Vigneault seem like the type of coach who’s going to go along with that plan? Good luck selling that to the kid.

  6. garrison1981 - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    With retirement of the Legend, Nick Lidstrom, Detroit could use a Def for the next 10-20 yrs!

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