The Oilers continue to fill themselves with talent. After seemingly every other team wasted their first round draft pick on Defense, Edmonton went ahead and signed the most sought after free agent, the soon to be 22 year old Justin Schultz. At 6′ and 185 lbs, Schultz is the rare and beautiful offensive defenseman. He has led all NCAA D-men in scoring the past two seasons, with 47 points in 41 games in 10-11 and 44 points in 37 games last season, split about 1/3 on goals and 2/3 on assists.
I know it is easy to be gun shy with rookies. I can’t tell you how many times I have been lured in by a hot young stud only to be in hot water. Literally, I can’t tell you, because of the Court settlement. Nevertheless, this is a guy you want to target. Not high. I mean, you don’t want to be high during the draft (probably), but this isn’t someone you need to go hard for. With that caveat (which pairs well with a nice Grenache Rosé), Schultz is a top ten defensemen. Even though he hasn’t played a single NHL game yet, he will put up enviable numbers. I target my D late, so he will likely be off the board by then. If your strategy is different, then I would not be afraid to snag him at an appropriate round. To be more blunt, if he is still around by the time your 10th pick arrives, you don’t have to be ashamed to take him. Those more courageous than me may consider him a few rounds earlier than that, although that’s not a risk I’m interested in. After all. you’re probably looking at 11 goals and 24 assists at best. That’s nice, especially for a rookie, but is that worth skipping a 50 point winger? No. Or yes. Your call, skippy.