Washington Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz signed a four-year, $11-million extension on Wednesday, thereby avoiding salary arbitration. So it seems GMGM was not being coy when he said, “We probably won’t make any changes to our defense. We’ve got seven guys ready to go.”
Sorry. You probably wanted a more well known name for the Caps’ blueline. Someone like Michalek. Or Volchenkov. Or maybe even Hamhuis.
Me too. But not at the expense of Jeff Schultz, who, at 24-years old, was the first blueliner to lead the NHL in plus/minus since 2005-06, when the New York Rangers’ Michal Rozsival and the Ottawa Senators’ Wade Redden tied for the lead at plus-35.
By my count, b/w 16 and 18 teams will use more cap space on their 3rd-most expensive d-man than the #Caps will use on Jeff Schultz.
Think about that for a moment:
Caps are spending 3rd-blueliner money on a Top-2 defenseman.
Still not convinced?
His blocked shots per 60 minutes of ice time (5.2) puts him 15th out of all defensemen who played at least 70 games/12min per and 7th in points per 60 minutes of ice time with 1.16. What do you think that would fetch on “Free Agent Frenzy Day”?
Is Schultz the answer to the Caps woes on the blue line? Of course not. Does he add the grit the Caps needed desperately for the playoffs? No. What it gives them is a top-line option at an extremely reasonable price, that – even if they were to sign a blueliner to pair with Green next year — they would still have a moderately priced 3rd defenseman to pair with Carlson.
Time will tell, but I think this signing makes Schultz one of the NHL’s best bargains two to four years from now. If not sooner.