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Report: Justin Schultz’s preference is to play in western Canada

Jun 28, 2012, 8:07 AM EDT

Justin Schultz Getty Images

The Red Wings are an organization with a great reputation and an obvious need for defense. However, that wasn’t enough to lure top-tier free agent prospect Justin Schultz to Detroit.

“I was told we are not on his list of teams,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. “We expressed our interest to his agent (Don Meehan). They went over all the information today (Wednesday).”

Although Schultz can sign with any team, he’s limited to inking a two-year, entry-level contract. That means his decision will ultimately come down to opportunity and personal preference.

As a British Columbia-native, it looks like Schultz simply wants to play close to home. At this point, the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames all have an edge for his services.

If his decision comes down to those three teams, he might choose the Oilers because they’ll offer him the best shot of making his NHL debut in October. Schultz will also get to be part of a team that’s making the transition from rebuilding to competing.

At the same time, the Vancouver Canucks are the better team and are closer to home. He might choose them in the hopes of winning the Stanley Cup in the not too distant future with his native province.

  1. polegojim - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Vancouver claims to have a verbal and signing to follow shortly.

  2. pshanks62 - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    If this kid signs with the Oilers or Flames over the Wings he’s an IDIOT. The Canucks…not so much.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      I don’t know, signing with the Oilers is looking less and less silly – especially for a young guy who’s got his entire career ahead of him. With the young talented nucleus they’ve built it could be an opportunity to grow into something special. I would agree completely if he were 27-30, but at 22 he’s got his whole career ahead of him. Go to a team where he can play for a couple of years, if he likes it and the team is on the way up then stay. If not, play your tail off and then bolt in 2014 to a contender.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      Typical arrogant Dead Things fan…

      • polegojim - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Arrogant or realist? For 21 years, it’s been ‘realist’, even in their ‘not as good’ years.

      • m1lla7 - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        You only post ignorant comments, no matter what team or person the story is about.

  3. millertime30 - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    One of the dumbest rules in sports that this kid is even allowed to be a free agent w/out ever suiting up for the team that drafted him.. And I have no stake in the situation, whatsoever.. don’t care that he left the Ducks… don’t care who he joins.. But it’s insane that he can completely blow off the team that invested a draft pick in him.

    Go Sabres

    • jpelle82 - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      i agree, dont want him on my team. he might end up taking his puck and going home if things dont go his way. hope he goes to edmonton, im rooting for those kids out there to prove themselves this year

      • ravenscaps48 - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:35 AM

        Couldn’t agree more.

      • millertime30 - Jun 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    • polegojim - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      TOTALLY true and agreed.

  4. rockthered1286 - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    My team has no stake in this argument, and quite frankly not interested whatsoever (Caps), but I’m feeling like this kid is being a bit of a prima-donna. Understandably, the kid APPEARS to be good (but we all know not every top prospect of every sport coming out of college is a sure fire top line guy, right?) but to tell essentially 20 something other NHL teams “sorry but I won’t play for you because I want to play where I live and I NEED a roster spot” is simply ludicrous. Can he do it? Of course, but typically when a guy comes out with this type of justification it’s a veteran who’s proven, not a kid out of college who’s never stepped foot on the ice at the NHL or even AHL level. Sad thing is someone will pay him and it’ll further explode his ego…

    And for that attitude and undeserved sense of entitlement? I hope to see this kid fall flat on his face.

  5. murraychadwick - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    This kid might want to be careful for what he whishes for. Sure, I understand wanting to play closer to home, but playing in a Canadian market brings a ton of pressure from media and fans. If he isn’t a stud right from the get go he may end up causing more harm than good by choosing to go to a Canadian team. For all the hype he is bringing expectations are going to be high and we’ve all seen what happens to players who don’t perfrom at the level expected in Canadian markets. If I was him I would sign in Detroit or Chicago or some team like that who has a great organization with lots of upside but without all the pressure.

    • rob1986s - Jun 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      EDM has the biggest need so presumably the pressure would be greatest there.

      CGY and VAN both have a stable of veteran Dmen to lessen the load on Schultz if things don’t start off on the right foot.

      • nobandwagoners - Jun 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        Good point. In Edmonton he’d face the expectation to be THE guy and if he doesn’t perform as a top 2 defenceman, then he’d be labelled a big disappointment. It’d be enticing to play with such a talented young team but to step into the role that Edmonton would want might actually be detrimental to his development (and let’s not kid ourselves, he will still need to develop his game).

        In Vancouver, he’d likely take a second pairing or, more likely, a third pairing role but also get some first or second unit power play time, so overall a good balance and not so much pressure to a top 2 guy.

        And can you blame him for wanting to play close to home? I don’t know about whether he’s “demanded” playing time or just expressed (or his agent) that he wants to play; fair enough. But to brush him as some primma donna based on what is essentially rumour is not fair at this point.

  6. furkmyster - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    What happens when Shultz likely disappoints in the Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver markets? I am not sold on him being any good and worthy of a top 4 starting spot day one of his career anyway. Let the Canadian fans roast him.

  7. phillyphever - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    I think I found a crybaby even worse than Crosby: Red Wing fans. GROW UP ALREADY!!!! There are other teams that players want to play for besides Detroit.

  8. lordfletcher - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    I find it interesting that MN Wild haven’t been told yet that they are not in the running? So the Western Canada claim is fairly accurate but not 100%.

    I am sure it will be any time now that Fletcher / Wild are told that Schultz will not be joining their team but they got a 5% chance. Just like Latendresse returning :( cry cry cry

  9. mclovinhockey - Jun 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    I wonder if the jets are considered western Canada haha.
    Well for now the flames and oilers really seem like bad ideas. I would be shocked if he signs with one of these teams over the Canucks. I dont think the Canucks are going to come out of the west but they are by far the better team.

  10. purpleguy - Jun 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I don’t know why people get all uptight about the kid playing within the rules to go where he wants. How in hell is that being a prima donna? No one cries foul when the teams trade draft picks or prospects, release rights to drafted players or even release players. I say good for Schultz; however, screw western Canada — move to MN.

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