At ESPN Insider, Craig Custance spoke with Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves about defenseman Justin Schultz and not just what kind of player he is, but the kind of person he is.
Eaves says, “He’s pretty grounded and he’s listening to the advice of his group and doing things by the letter. You don’t hear things from Justin. He’s keeping things close to his chest. He’ll go wherever he goes and he’ll be the hardest-working guy there.”
Eaves adds, “He’s competitive as hell and probably one of the hardest workers on the team.”
On the kind of player that Schultz is, Custance spoke to a scout who said, “This guy can shoot the puck. This is a guy who can walk the blue line on the power play with his head up all the time. He can fire wrist shots, he can pick holes. He can one-time it, but you’ll see him score more goals on a wrister through screens. Every game I saw this kid play the last two years, I left going ‘This kid is going to play.’ He’s a top-four guy, probably top three with power-play ability. He can step in the NHL next year and play. He’s going to run a power play.”
At the Toronto Star, Damien Cox writes that while talented Justin Schultz could be the latest in a long line of young, hyped UFA’s that many teams are interested in.
He says that Adam Oates is an example of a player who signed as a UFA and became a star, but also mentions the cases of Mats Zuccarello, Matt Gilroy, Mike Van Ryn and Fabian Brunnstrom as player who were expected to be stars after signing.
Comparing Schultz to the last right handed FA shooting defenseman the Rangers signed out of college, Matt Gilroy, Cox says “Schultz turns 22 next month. Gilroy was 24 coming out of Boston University as a similarly sized, right-hand shooting defenceman with offensive abilities, and hyped just as much or more. He only spent five games in the minors, but has since been traded twice, with both the Rangers and Lightning deciding fairly quickly they could do better. The Leafs were after Gilroy hot and heavy back then, too, but the Rangers got him because they were willing to offer guarantees Toronto would not.”
Why Justin Schultz isn’t likely to be Fabian Brunnstrom, part deux: Brunnstrom was a late-blooming wild card with no real track record.
11AM: Pierre LeBrun writes at ESPN.com, that Schultz and his reps are in the process of deciding on a list of teams and the belief is that he wants to play in Canada. He does note that the Rangers and Red Wings both have interesting situations for him to come into.
9:39AM: In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes about what the Rangers can offer Wisconsin defenseman and free agent to be Justin Schultz.
Since the money will be the same from every team, Schultz says that the Rangers can offer him the chance to play on a cup contending team, the chance to play with his former teammates Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan.
He also notes that the Rangers will promote the fact that John Torotrella, over the last two seasons, has given college players like Stepan, McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider big roles.
Brooks says that the Rangers, Canucks, Oilers, Maple Leafs and maybe the Blackhawks and Red Wings are expected to be on Schultz’s short list.
Adam Rotter: Each of those teams has a feature that can appeal to Schultz. Vancouver is home and has a shot to win, Edmonton is filled with young forwards and need defensemen, Toronto has his good friend Jake Gardiner and Brian Burke and like the Rangers, the Red Wings and Blackhawks give him a chance to step in to a big role on a contending team.