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Justin Schultz’s AHL coach is “very comfortable” making Scott Niedermayer comparisons

Dec 23, 2012, 10:08 PM EDT

Justin Schultz Getty Images

Justin Schultz insists to NHL.com that it’s been tough adjusting to AHL competition, but it’s hard not to think about a huge future considering the fact that he’s tied* for the league scoring lead with a whopping 40 points in 28 games.

Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson is buying into those lofty thoughts. He even compared Schultz to Drew Doughty and Scott Niedermayer.

“He has parts of Niedermayer and one player he reminds me of is Drew Doughty,” Nelson said. “The NHL is a step higher, but I see him doing the same thing up there. Maybe not as explosive in his first year, but I see him contributing offensively. I see him playing a lot of minutes, just as he does here — and he plays about 30 minutes a game, handles it well.

“Is he capable of being a Scott Niedermayer? He’s very capable. I feel very comfortable in saying that.”

Wow. Here’s a requisite shot of Niedermayer via Getty:

source: Getty Images

To be fair to Nelson, Schultz has indeed been incredible. His 16 goals leave him just five short of the AHL record for rookie defensemen, with plenty of hockey to play.

Even opposing coaches such as Texas Stars bench boss Willie Desjardins has been wowed.

“The American League is a real good league and lots of time there is an adjustment period, but it seems like he missed the adjustment period,” Desjardins said. “He went right into it and has functioned at a real high level.”

Schultz has already drawn comparisons to Doughty, Niedermayer and Paul Coffey before his first NHL shift, but depending upon whom you ask, it might just be a matter of time – maybe even a work stoppage – before he proves himself worthy.

* He’s tied with Barons teammate Jordan Eberle.

  1. jkaflagg - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Ducks should have made him a very rich man back when they owned his rights…..now they have to watch him distributing the puck to Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Yakupov etc. for the next ten years…..

  2. danphipps01 - Dec 25, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Man, this kid is going to bleed Edmonton white with contract demands once his ELC is up. Think about what guys like Karlsson and Doughty have demanded salary-wise, despite “only” having RFA status (which some people seem to think hampers their demands – obviously didn’t happen in those cases). Now add to that that he clearly has no team loyalty. He blew Anaheim off, then spent weeks making a shortlist of other clubs outbid each other for his services, and he’s never even played an NHL game. This kid is absolutely in love with himself and his idiot coach isn’t doing anything to control his ego or get him to grow up. Pure money player who will drop Edmonton in a heartbeat if he thinks he sees greener pastures elsewhere.

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