Free agent defenseman Justin Schultz made up his mind on Saturday and has decided to sign with the Edmonton Oilers, as announced by the team.
The 21-year-old Schultz was originally a second-round draft pick by the Anaheim Ducks back in 2008 but never signed with the team. He was eligible for free agency this summer after he left the University of Wisconsin.
A number of teams made presentations to Schultz in an effort to sign him, while the Oilers were reported to have NHL legends Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey call him in an effort to get him to play in Edmonton.
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Because the largest contract he could sign was an entry level deal money was not a factor in the decision, and it simply came down to the team and situation that Schultz wanted to be in. From a hockey standpoint it's not hard to see why he chose the Oilers.
Edmonton's defense is by far the weak link of its team (quite frankly, it's kind of a mess) and should give Schultz the quickest possible path to the NHL, as well as the best chance at making an immediate impact. He's considered one of the better defensive prospects in hockey.
Even if he doesn't pan out or live up to the hype that's built up over the past couple of weeks it only cost the Oilers an entry level deal and didn't require them to give up any assets (draft picks, trade, etc.) to acquire him. There's little to lose and a lot to gain.
Schultz will be joining an Edmonton team that already has a nice collection of young, extremely talented forwards, due in large part to three straight No. 1 overall picks (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov) and should instantly become their top prospect on the blue line.
In 37 games this past season at Wisconsin Schultz scored 16 goals to go with 28 assists.
During his three years at the NCAA level he appeared in 121 games and scored 40 goals to go with 73 assists.