“Justin Schutlz says yes, he can hear the boos from fans at Rexall.
Fortunately for him, he might not have to hear them much longer.
Widely expected to be traded by Monday’s deadline, Schultz — Edmonton’s much-maligned (and pending RFA) blueliner — told the Edmonton Journal he’s having a tough time lately, between his name swirling in rumors and the constant jeering from Oilers fans.
While Schultz wants to get the fans back on his side and re-iterated he “wants to be in Edmonton,” it’s hard to see much of a future for him in the city.
For all his warts, the 25-year-old is still an offensive d-man, with a right-handed shot, that can put points on the board. The Journal also noted that Tampa Bay — a team in need of a righty on the blueline — sent director of player personnel Pat Verbeek for a “rare visit” to Rexall on Tuesday.”
—Read more from Mike Halford of ProHockeyTalk.
The HockeyFanLand Insight:
I have to admit, I laughed when I read Halford’s complete article. I have been boo’ing Justin Schultz for quite some time now. When Schultz chose to sign with the Oilers, I think it’s fair to say that 95% of the Oilers fanbase believed he would be the long-awaited answer to solve the team’s ongoing problem of moving the puck from the defensive zone. It was especially convincing because Schultz turned down the opportunity to play for Anaheim, making himself a highly sought-after college free agent. Just a few short years ago, the majority of the National Hockey League showed genuine interest in Schultz and his services.
But Schultz chose to suit up for my beloved Edmonton Oilers. It was a great moment, and it felt like the momentum in Edmonton might finally be turning. Unfortunately, Schultz has been a huge disappointment ever since.
The guy simply cannot play defense. That might have been understandable in his early time with the Oilers, but he has shown over time that he simply does not possess the skills necessary to protect the defensive zone. Game after game, Schultz is the biggest liability in his own zone.
I know, there are “hockey experts” who think Schultz has the potential to become a more well-rounded and effective player. After all, development is known to be a longer process for defensemen than for forwards. But whatever the reason, the “Schultz experiment” has not worked in Edmonton. With the trade deadline fast approaching, it seems clear that it would be best for both Schultz and the Oilers to part ways.
The organization has publicly stated they are willing to move certain assets on or before Monday’s 3:00pm EST trade deadline. Now that Justin Schultz was held out of the Kings game as a healthy scratch, it’s clear Edmonton is shopping him. It is highly likely that Justin Schultz’s time in Edmonton has come to an end. I can’t say I’m not happy about that…
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