It’s a lock folks! Justin Schultz will pick the Vancouver Canucks

Let the Schultz-waltz begin

July 1 begins a bit early this year as Justin Schultz is now officially a free agent.

The former second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks jumped through his final loophole Sunday night after de-registering from the University of Wisconsin back in May and now finds himself the prettiest girl in the school to 30 would-be suitors.

In a year when UFA defencemen are mostly harmless save for the biggest fish Ryan Suter, Justin Schultz has the market firmly in control.

He’s 21, can’t make more than $925,000 on his entry level contract (though depending on performance bonuses he could necessitate absorbing as much as a $3.8 million cap hit next year) , and has 113 points in 121 career NCAA games.

Risk/reward is off the charts

So Justin Schultz is in the very rare position where he can choose what teams he wants to start his career with, much to the dismay of the Ducks.

The rumoured favourites for Schultz’s services are the Canucks, the Oilers, the Blackhawks, the Rangers, and the Maple Leafs, home of the General Manager who originally drafted Schultz in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Remember, it’s the same entry-level max contract wherever he goes, so this decision will be based purely on preference.

If you’re a young defender with big goals, where are you best served to achieve them?

Marc-Andre Gragnani

To say Marc-Andre Gragnani could be gone begs the question, was he even here?

Well it’s the Canucks obviously.

Go ahead and buy a jersey, I know who Schultz will pick when he eventually plucks a goose from the circle of ducks.

1. He’s a BC Boy

Kelowna, breeding ground of future hockey players and vacationing hockey players. Schultz is merely the latest in a long line of provincial defensemen to come home, like Jason Garrison maybe or Willie Mitchell or Scott Neidermayer, no wait.

Let’s imagine that you grew up as a Canucks fan, which you did, and now are an elite-level prospect, which you aren’t, with a chance to reverse-draft yourself.

How are you not picking the Canucks?

Wasn’t that the team you always dreamed of raising the cup with?

The hometown hero is one of the best career options in sport, you have to take it.

2. The Canucks Need Him

It’s been rumoured that Schultz is asking for a guaranteed roster spot this season because for some reason the possibility of earning an AHL wage in the minors isn’t appealing.

There’s some question to what kind of confidence in your own ability that reveals when you need a guarantee to make it through training camp, but hey this could be easily done on the Canucks believe me.

With Aaron Rome and Marc-Andre Gragnani shown the door this week, roster spots are available.

A quick look down the depth chart sees Dan Hamhuis | Kevin BieksaAlex Edler followed by an aging Sami Salo, Ballard who is Keith Ballard, and the mysterious Chris Tanev.

Perhaps Tanev takes the next step and slots into that top-four but this looks like a blueline-in-progress. It’s also a blueline in need of a powerplay quarterback.

Salo is likely on the outs to retirement after this season and last season proved the follies of trying to rely on his weathered body as the first option to play with Alex Edler, who was a Kelowna Rocket back when Schultz was 15.

Surely Schultz remembers watching Edler put up 53 points in 63 games.

Justin Schultz

My 100% take it to the bank Justin Schultz prediction. He’ll pick the Canucks. The BC boy will play at home.

How cool would that be to play with him on the Canucks?

3. And We’re Really Good

Let’s go down that list again.

Edmonton? Might as well come with the ‘Hang in There Baby’ cat poster.

Detroit? The team that can’t beat the Sharks with Nicklas Lidstrom and now don’t have Nicklas Lidstrom.

The Rangers? Good luck putting up points there or even cracking that blueline.

The Leafs? Dion Phaneuf would be your captain.

The Canucks are simply your best shot to win the cup, all other factors aside.

Sure, Schultz’s actions have proved he loves himself as an individual, pretty sure every hockey player wants to win. The Leafs and the Oilers aren’t offering that unless you believe in the plans of Brian Burke or Steve Tambellini.

The Red Wings and Blackhawks have been eternally stalled in the first round in recent playoffs.

The Canucks? They’re the twice-consecutive President’s Trophy champions who have shown the ability to win 16 playoff games (*in two years).

How much more enticing do you need this to be Justin Schultz?

This is a no-brainer.

Join us it’ll be fun.


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About Richard Hodges

A proud Vancouverite with a lifelong passion for the home teams that some would classify as pointless and disturbing. Now realizes that The Linden Tree is not the play you think it would be.
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  • Is this a joke the Canucks may win the Presidents trophy year after year, but face it they can’t win in the playoffs… nor can any team from Canada. Detroit is finally on the decline. Out of all these teams the Rangers are leaps and bounds ahead of the field. They just made the ECF with the 4th youngest team in the NHL. Plus they will add more scoring, and he can be the 4th defenseman on the best defensive team in the league. This article is retardeD Canucks blow… LGR.

    • NWSportsBeat

      Thx for your comments Josh…I think

    • andy

      Leaps and bound? Id take Pittsburgh and Boston and New Jersey with an aging Brodeur any day of the week over the Rangers.

  • maxhyde

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see him with the Oilers. Seems to be the only place he has a real shot at a top four minutes. Besides that he gets to play with young players and grow with them. If it is a hockey decision then all likelihood he runs to the Oilers without even talking to other teams.
    The only other places not included in your list maybe Pittsburg or Colorado. Solid younger teams that have blueline considerations.
    Joining the Canucks means you are definitely playing for next year and maybe another but when the Sedins go away what will Vancouver have? Not sure all the BC boys have playing for the Canucks in thier hearts as much as some of the fans might think.

    • NWSportsBeat

      Thx for the comment Mikey! 🙂

  • Sorry a little heated at the time, but I just think the Rangers should be considered among the elite in the NHL. If he wants to be near home then I would say vancouver and Ottawa are the best teams in Canada

  • Stifler

    Didn’t the canucks go out in the first round last year, after one of the biggest chokes ever witnessed in the Stanley Cup finals the year before? If they are so great how does a first year rookie get such a big role with them? I would think the HUGE amount of talent that has been assembled in Edmonton might be something this player would seriously look at.

  • Stifler

    Didn’t the canucks go out in the first round last year, after one of the biggest chokes ever witnessed in the Stanley Cup finals the year before? If they are so great how does a first year rookie get such a big role with them? I would think the HUGE amount of talent that has been assembled in Edmonton might be something this player would seriously look at.

  • neshak

    hahaha i love this article. this should be “exclusively for canucks fans only”. 16 playoff wins in 2 years! lol. the other teams are seething haha. please don’t be mad, fans of other teams. we are just having fun 🙂 go canucks 🙂

  • Bradtastic

    Nice to read an un-biased Vancouver media member’s thoughts>>>NOT!!! He will be an Oiler because he will be the jewel on D and have a very bright future….with NO RIOTS!!!!

  • Xalvion

    You ranters might want to look up the meaning of the expression “tongue in cheek”.
    Sheesh, people, learn to laugh at a joke.
    And I’m a Leafs fan, for crying out loud!

    • Xalvion

      p.s. He’ll sign with Toronto. I should know, I’ve asked a couple of people. Definitely Toronto.

  • andy

    Rangers are anything but elite.

  • StopBeingInDenial

    he’s not signing with Toronto. The guy who broke Detroit is not in the running said Schultz is headed West. Its a Canadian team as we all know. Its either Edmonton/Vancouver. Stop being so stubborn Leafs fans

  • rondo smith

    If he chooses Vancouver he will play in the AHL , take a look at Brandon Smith and compare.

    The only team he might play in the NHL this year is Edmonton, that is because they are weak at D.

    From a hockey standpoint I would choose Edmonton because of the youth and talent it would be exciting to grow with a team like that.

    From a city to live in Vancouver wins. More pressure In Vancouver

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