Just minutes after they defeated the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon the Pittsburgh Penguins completed a trade to add to their defense when they acquired Justin Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a 2016 third-round draft pick.
As part of the deal the Oilers will also be picking up half of Schultz's remaining contract, which expires after this season when he will be a restricted free agent. Schultz's contract for this season pays him $3.9 million. The Penguins will only be responsible for half of what is left, which is important given how close they are to the NHL's salary cap.
The Penguins don't expect him to join the roster until Wednesday or Thursday due to the immigration process from Canada.
The Penguins' defense has been undergone quite a makeover during the season (one that was needed) and is very different from the one that started the season. They already traded Rob Scuderi to Chicago for Trevor Daley and also brought up Derrick Pouliot from the American Hockey League. Now they have added Schultz, another puck-mover to a defense that is made up almost entirely of puck-movers. It is pretty clear that they believe their best chance is to play defense by winning races to pucks in the defensive zone and using their mobile defensemen to move the puck up the ice quickly.
Schultz is a bit of a wild card for the Penguins. He has a ton of talent offensively and should, in theory, be a pretty productive player. But it hasn't always translated into results on the ice and his play in his own zone can at times leave a lot to be desired. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford admitted after the trade that Schultz still has some things to work on. It is possible that a change of scenery and getting away from the mess that is the Oilers could be good for him.