The June 25th deadline has come and gone and as expected, Anaheim was unable to sign defenseman Justin Schultz to an Entry Level contract, meaning he’ll be a free agent on July 1st.
Schultz, 21, may actually be the most hotly pursued of all the free agents this summer because unlike Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Schultz will be relatively affordable.
I checked with the good people at CapGeek and learned that although Schultz could carry a total cap hit as high as $3.775 million, it’s hard to say how unachieved bonuses would affect that cap hit until the new CBA is passed.
As we’ve explained, Schultz is widely expected to be a top-four defenseman out of the gate and many believe that he’s ready to quarterback an NHL power play right now.
Those may be unfair and unrealistic expectations for a college kid, but Schultz is indeed considered to be a special prospect.
And of course, that’s why so many NHL clubs will be interested in acquiring his services.
It is now commonly thought that Schultz prefers to sign with a Canadian club, likely Vancouver, Toronto or Edmonton. However, the Rangers have strong interest in signing Schultz and have long been mentioned as a possible destination thanks to the Wisconsin ties of Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, both former teammates of Schultz. We have no way of knowing how much influence they have on the young blueliner, but both players have supposedly been lobbying for Schultz to join New York.
Schultz is reportedly meeting with his agents today and will begin hearing pitches from NHL teams on Wednesday. It’s a strong possibility that Schultz’s mind is already made up and that his intentions will become clear in the next few days, but Schultz will not be able to officially ink a deal until Sunday.