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Justin Schultz has “moxie,” according to Oilers assistant coach

Jan 15, 2013, 1:46 PM EDT

Justin Schultz Getty Images

He’s already ripped up the AHL; now Justin Schultz is drawing rave reviews at his first NHL training camp.

“I see a hockey player who has moxie, who has the ability to step up into the play when needed, he has the ability to play strong defensively, he skates strong, he loves the game,” said Oilers assistant coach Steve Smith, per the Associated Press.

“From all accounts from the coaches I’ve talked to he wants the puck, he wants to be on the ice, he wants to be a game-changer. There’s just so many positives I’ve seen to this point.”

Schultz signed a free-agent contract with Edmonton this summer, though not for a lack of interest from other teams.

Playing for AHL Oklahoma City during the NHL lockout, the 22-year-old defenseman piled up 48 points in 34 games, second in league scoring behind teammate Jordan Eberle.

But despite those impressive stats, Schultz knows the NHL isn’t the AHL.

“I’ve got to be a little smarter,” he said, per the Edmonton Journal. “Down in the AHL, I was maybe jumping up into the play at some bad times. Guys are better up here and they’re going to capitalize on odd-man rushes.

“I’m not going to change my game; but I’ll definitely be a little smarter.”

  1. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Putting up 48 pts in 34 games as a Dman in the AHL is no joke. He’s already on the same page with Eberle, Hall, and Nugent-Hopkins. Just seeing highlights of this kid I came away really impressed. I think Calder Trophy this season and eventually will be one of top offensive Defenseman in the NHL. I know he hasn’t played an NHL game yet, but his skills might remind some Oilers fans of Paul Coffey.

  2. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I don’t know about the kid. I mean he’s put up his best numbers ever playing in the AHL with the best young stars of the NHL. Those stars were way better than their adversaries. Things won’t be as easy, but we know the baby oilers will produce because they have proven their talent playing against the best in the world. Schultz has a lot of steps to climb in a very short time to pull off anything significant. D man are typically develop slower than forwards. No doubt he has potential, but how quickly can he adapt to NHL pace game in and game out? Certainly a good investment for the oilers.

    • valoisvipers - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      Like your name!

  3. cameltoews - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    I think Chris kreider will have something to say about the Calder

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      But from all reports Kreider will be on the 3rd line and probably won’t get much PP time. On the other hand Schultz will play in the top-4 with some dynamic talents and get plenty of PP time. Bottom line is Oilers will rely on Schultz way more than Rangers will lean on Schultz.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        *Rangers lean on Kreider

    • jrmehle - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      So will Mikael Granlund.

  4. jedicurt - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I watched him in every game he played in OKC, and we will miss him. Eberle and Hall may have shown up and taught us what NHL talent really looked like. But i know that everyone in OKC will have a special place for Shultz and hope he does great at the next level. He is something special, and i am glad that i got to see it in person, even if it was just for a short time.

  5. cameltoews - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Yeah I understand what you are saying and and its a good poiny but What I am saying is Kreider doesn’t play on the 3rd line for long.

    • pone27 - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      Kreider will get his chance on probably all three lines at some point, but Schultz is ready to be a top 4 dman easily.

      Big things against Schultz in winning Calder are overall points (hes going to have to put up some good numbers) and more importantly, +/-. If he can maintain a high one, which will be tough in Edmonton, he has a strong shot.

      My early pick to take the Calder: Justin Huberdeau. Already has sick potential to hop into the top 6 and will get tons of ice time. Again +/- is a factor,

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