Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pens Gamble on Schultz, Hoping He'll Fit in

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired much-maligned defenseman Justin Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick. Schultz is considered a reclamation project, as the offensive defenseman has struggled in Edmonton for the last two seasons after showing promise in his rookie season when he was seventh in Calder voting.

"He's still a pretty young guy," said Penguins G.M. Jim Rutherford. "There's some things that he has to work on with his game. We think a change of scenery is going to be good. We'll see how the fit is."

As far as Schultz' struggles in Edmonton, Rutherford doesn't believe that they are all his fault.

"Sometimes when you have that many young players it can be difficult for everybody," he said.

When asked about Schultz's defensive deficiencies, Rutherford admitted that it was a fair scouting report.

"We want to get as many NHL guys here so we have depth at all positions. We'll see how this sorts out--who he ends up playing with when he plays."

Schultz says he's excited to put his struggles with the Oilers behind him. “Really excited to come to Pittsburgh," he said. "I think it will suit my game well. I got to the NHL by being a good offensive defenseman. That maybe got away from me a little bit this year. Hopefully, I'll get it back and not be a liability defensively but want the puck and go.”

The Oilers are picking up half of Schultz's contract, and the 25-year-old will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Schultz has 10 points in 45 games for the Oilers this season. He's a minus-22.