While everyone's immediate attention seems to be centered on this weekend's NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, come Sunday, everyone's attention may be on Justin Schultz instead.
In case you were unaware, Sunday is the date of the imposed deadline in which the Anaheim Ducks have an exclusive negotiating rights to reach an agreement with their second round pick from 2008. Should Schultz opt not to sign with Anaheim, other teams will be permitted to negotiate with Schultz but like other impending free agents, he cannot sign a contract with another organization until July 1st.)
Thanks to their overwhelming amount of young talent, the Edmonton Oilers have long been considered as one of the most likely destinations for Schultz and the topic of acquiring Schultz's negotiation rights has pervaded their sports conversations for the past few weeks. Hilariously, as we continue to approach Sunday's deadline, the headlines that adorn some of the Schultz articles continue to get more frenetic and desperate:
- "To win Justin Schultz, the Oilers will have to guarantee a roster spot, ex-GM Lawton says" ~ June 13th
- "It would only take a 5th round pick to get Justin Schultz’s negotiation rights from the Anaheim Ducks, Ferraro says" ~ June 18th
- "If Justin Schultz is open to signing with a team before July 1, the time for the Edmonton Oilers to act is now"
~ June 19th
In the June 18th piece, the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples posted an interesting article on the newspaper’s Cult of Hockey blog that detailed some new and interesting information pertaining to Schultz.
Of note, Staples touched upon Ray Ferraro’s radio appearance on Edmonton's Team 1260 in which the TSN colour commentator speculated that it could just take a late round pick to secure the exclusive negotiation rights to the impending UFA defensive prospect.
“What are you going to get? A seventh round or a fifth round draft pick. Nobody is going to give you more than that because there is no indication where he wants to sign.”
Perhaps more appropriately, why would the Ducks trade Schultz’s exclusive negotiating window and risk giving themselves less grounds to file tampering charges against whichever team inks Schultz to an ELC?
Assuming that Schultz’s rights don’t get dealt or sign by the 24th, the Senators should be a viable destination for the prospect.
If you believe some of the conjecture out there, Schultz just wants: a) a guaranteed spot on the blue line next season; b) Schultz wants to play in Canada; c) to play for the team that gives him the most playing time; and d) gives him the best opportunity to thrive immediately.
Thanks to the likelihood that Filip Kuba, Matt Carkner and Matt Gilroy will hit the free agent market, Ottawa can certainly present itself as an organization that can offer Schultz a spot. Without any internal candidates who profile as anything more than bottom pairing or depth defencemen, there is opportunity here in the nation’s capital - especially with Paul MacLean's coaching philosophy and the presence of young defencemen like Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen.
Other News of Pithy Importance:
- Daniel Alfredsson has done an exclusive interview from Las Vegas for SensTV and mentions that he has not made a decision on his future yet.
- The Ottawa Senators have released their 2012/13 preseason schedule:
- Sunday, Sept. 23: Ottawa at Montreal, 7 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 24: Ottawa at Toronto, 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 25: Toronto at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 27: Montreal at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 30: Ottawa vs N.Y. Islanders, 5 p.m., (at Barrie, Ont.)
- Sunday, Sept. 30: N.Y. Islanders at Ottawa, TBA
- Saturday, Oct. 6: Ottawa at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.
- In his latest 30 Thoughts blog, HNIC's Elliotte Friedman draws a comparison between Rob Scuderi and Filip Kuba.
26. "Couldn't help but watch Rob Scuderi and think of Filip Kuba. Both men are paired with stud defencemen, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson. Those guys are great players, but need an egoless partner who recognizes how to be a perfect complement. Scuderi/Kuba are exactly that. UFA Kuba appears ready to leave Ottawa, and it'll be interesting to see who the Senators view as Karlsson's next mate."
Shultz sounds likely to be viewed as a replacement for Sergei Gonchar. A second pairing defensemen, quarterback on the second PP unit and paired with a defensive oriented guy like Phillips/Cowen/Borocop. Maybe Murray acquires Shultz's rights for a midrange prospect and tells Shultz that Matt Carkner will re-enact his Boyle smackdown on anyone that takes liberties.
I see Kuba's replacement as a more veteran shutdown guy - maybe we get a player like Jay Bowmeester in trade.
Schultz is not coming to Ottawa.
Anyone else find it telling when Alfie refers to the Worlds as the "end of his career" and also says he's going to Sweden for 8 weeks starting this Sunday?
Schultz would always be in Karlsson's shadow here, plus he's a RH shot like EK so they'd almost never play together.
Ottawa is an interesting possibility but I think it's more likely he goes to Vancouver or reunites with his BFF Gardiner in Toronto.