Justin Schultz...The Decision
The Justin Schultz sweepstakes is expected to come to an end sometime this afternoon once the prized free agent dials up the Newport Sports office and informs them of his decision.
The University of Wisconsin product is in a situation unlike just about any other NCAA player we’ve seen. Outside of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Schultz falls right in line as one of the most coveted players on the market.
Besides his talent and the fact he’s ready to step right into the National Hockey League, NHL managers love the fact they don’t have to pay ridiculous money to sign him. He’ll enter the league under the entry level system and even if he reaches his bonuses he’ll still be paid millions less than Suter and the other top free agent D-men available. There’s limited risk for an NHL team although they see a player who can grow with an organization for the next several years.
I’ve spoken to a number of NCAA coaches who confirm he’s the real deal. No offense to Matt Gilroy but this is much different than the Gilroy sweepstakes of a few years back. Not only is he younger than Gilroy was at the time but he projects to be a much better player.
Next year we’ll be hearing about a similar player out of Western Michigan named Dan Dekeyser. They’re similar in that both project to be very good NHL D-men but Schultz brings much more offensive upside. Both players are very good skaters with high level hockey smarts. In other words Schultz is Dekeyser with an offensive game.
Sources tell me it’s down to three teams with the Ottawa Senators and the Edmonton Oilers being two of them. Sources close to the player tell me a third team is also receiving very strong consideration. The New York Rangers have been very aggressive in recruiting the player. For now his agents are standing by the phone waiting for a decision.
Ottawa would be a better fit than most realize. They’re losing three D-men off of their roster from last season with Filip Kuba, Matt Karkner, and Gilroy moving on. They have a great Head Coach who emphasizes a puck support game and would appear to be a nice fit for Schultz. It’s certainly has been for Norris winner Erik Karlsson.
As I recently reported, Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier has asked the team to trade him to a team where he has a chance to play. Sources say Kings GM Dean Lombardi is asking a hefty price including a first round pick in return. So far no offers have satisfied Lombardi.
Campbell to Marry…
Congrats to Florida D-man Brian Campbell who is getting married today in Chicago. It’s certainly is convenient for UFA Jason Garrison who will attend the wedding before gathering at his agent’s Chicago-based office on Sunday.
Carlo Colaiacovo should have a few options over the next few days with Florida being high on the list. He had some of his best year’s playing with Mike Weaver who remains under contract with the Panthers.
Arnott Hoping to hear From St. Louis…
All in all Jason Arnott did what he was asked to do last season. A knee injury slowed him down at the end but he scored almost 20 goals playing a secondary role with the Blues. His first choice would be to return to St. Louis but he’s open to find the right spot as he hits the twilight of a very strong NHL career. He still wants to play and could help a team under the right circumstances.
Hearing Nolan Baumgartner will be added as an assistant coach under Scott Arneil with the Chicago Wolves.
More to come,
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