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Oilers’ Schultz admits it’s too early for Norris talk

Aug 30, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

Upon announcing the Edmonton Oilers’ compromise of a one-year deal with Justin Schultz, GM Craig MacTavish didn’t mince words: he stated his belief that the 24-year-old defenseman could win a Norris Trophy one day.

Even Schultz wants to dial those expectations down a notch – at least for now – according to his statements to the Edmonton Journal from Friday.

“I like that he (MacTavish) thinks so highly of me, and I do want to win the Norris Trophy one day … but it’s early, and I still have a lot to prove,” Schultz said.

That’s especially true among stats-leaning Oilers observers, as his possession numbers aren’t as pretty as his offensive stats can be.

More than anything else, many believe that the Oilers got the wrong end of the negotiating session by handing Schultz a $3.675 million while failing to get long-term savings being that the two sides would have to hammer out another contract for 2015-16 and beyond (or watch him walk).

Oilers Nation rolls out a rather unsettling review of the one-year pact:

The Oilers here have managed to get the negatives of a bridge deal without the payoffs. They get the minimum amount of extra information possible – one year’s worth. There’s no bargain here; Schultz is being paid basically the same amount of money that Jake Gardiner took on a long-term deal despite an NHL career that isn’t any better. And a year from now if all goes according to plan the Oilers will be in a lousy bargaining position for a long-term deal.

One discouraging trend for Edmonton is that the Oilers rarely seem to sign players to bargain contracts. Despite a lengthy playoff drought, the Oilers’ $64.82 million payroll currently ranks 13th in the NHL. The Oilers made refreshingly reasonable additions this summer, but paying Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Benoit Pouliot more than $12 million combined is an overpay by most standards.

Big seasons from Schultz and/or Nail Yakupov could make it difficult for management to add complimentary players even if their much-ballyhooed core finally lives up to the hype.

Could Schultz mature into the star the Oilers are hoping for? It’s certainly possible … but it sounds like he’ll be costly one way or another.

  1. roblo76 - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    Norris Trophy? Seriously? This guy is a powerplay specialist. Any other time he’s terrible. Norris? Get real.

    • sabatimus - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      Well, welcome to the high-scoring-defenseman Norris. The reason that PK fricking Subban won it last year.

    • kclovesgaming - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      The Norris is all about offensive numbers nowadays. It was the only reason Subban won in the lock out year.It sure as heck wasn’t because of his very sub par and average defense.

  2. luz56 - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Not even effing close.. Who comes up with this crap ???

    • James O'Brien - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Craig MacTavish, GM of the Edmonton Oilers.

  3. mshantz22 - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    I would really like to see the Norris awarded to a defenseman who can actually play defense, not a winger that plays the wrong position.

    • jinx21fan - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      What we need is to see separate trophies to acknowledge the different roles played, and the strengths of the defensemen fulfilling those roles. Saying Paul Coffey should not be acknowledged is like saying Rod Langway should not be acknowledged.

      • 19to77 - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        Yep. And then Subban and Karlsson could celebrate being fourth forwards every year while the Webers, Doughtys and Pietrangelos of the League are actually recognized for being the best defensemen who actually bother to defend the net.

      • 19inarow - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:21 AM

        This has been discussed for a while. I remember reading a THN article about this, with it being the Orr and Langway awards. That was about twenty years ago.

    • flyerspsu - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      it really is ridiculous how much onus they put on offensive numbers, i would much rather have a shutdown dman that puts up good offensive numbers than an average to below average defensive dman who puts great offensive numbers

  4. jinx21fan - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    He’s a one trick pony from the blue-line, and even then he’ll never be the best among his peers at that. I’m not hating on the kid, but MacT should wait for a couple of “effective” seasons first before any Norris talk.

  5. 19to77 - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    The Oilers will not make lasting improvement as a franchise until their present ownership and management are replaced. Every management team Darryl Katz hires is stunningly incompetent, and the Katz Group itself certainly isn’t helping. None of these people can run a hockey club. Yet, here they are, running one headlong into the ground. James is right – Edmonton doles out terrible contracts like candy. Those Nikitan and Pouliot contracts are up there with Deryk Engelland for worst of the year. And until they get a professionally responsible team in the front office (maybe even somebody with an actual PLAN for the next five years?), they’ll continue to draft high and still never actually go anywhere with it.

    • jinx21fan - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      I tend to agree with you. Darryl Katz is treating the front office like an alumni suite where ex-players can hang out for games. Kevin Lowe is an absolute embarrassment, leaving him any power over hockey decisions is terrible.

      I do like quite a few of the moves MacT made, the goaltending situation especially. He did overspend on FA’s but that is almost a given to attract anyone to Edmonton. I’m really anxious to see if Mr. Advanced Stat darling Pouliot shows anything more that what he has his entire career.

  6. blomfeld - Aug 30, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    JAMES NORRIS TROPHY = DREW DOUGHTY …

    TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

  7. quinner17 - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I literally laughed out loud when I read this

  8. luz56 - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I love the line ” having to overpay” to get guys to play in Edmonton….

  9. mnwildandcaps8 - Aug 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Suter should have won the Norris that year. I really hope he can win one he deserves it

  10. bsaures - Aug 31, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    People complaining that the norris is only about points these days need to take a look at the stats of all the winners since it was created. It has ALWAYS been about points. In the last 60 years only 9 times has the winner scored fewer than 40 points with most of those years coming in lockout shortened years or when they played fewer games. From harvey to orr to potvin, coffey, bourque, leetch, and fast forward to today with guys like Karlsson and subban you have guys that were the best of their times offensively while being solid defenders

    • habs9 - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      dont you know its pointless to try and actually make sense! who uses things like facts these days anyways ;)

      its difficult to get robots to understand anything they aren’t programmed to do, have you noticed 99% of the comments?

      – instantly forget that this article is not about Subban or Karlsson
      – complain that its all about offensive numbers
      – throw jab at Subban and/or Karlsson

      but i digress…how dare you try using facts!?

  11. ray2013 - Sep 1, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    Good old Oilers. Schultz has a great season and they are going to have to seriously overpay to keep him. But even if they were to offer, he can leave ASAP to somewhere he wants to play. Stupid move that has KLowe all over it.

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