MADISON, Wis. –- For one of the quietest guys on the Wisconsin men’s hockey team, defenseman Justin Schultz (West Kelowna, British Columbia) became the subject of quite a bit of noise this summer. That noise reached a crescendo Saturday when the Edmonton Oilers announced the two-time All-American would sign with them.
A 2008 second-round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks (43rd overall), Schultz became a free agent after withdrawing from school, and then opting not to sign with the Ducks earlier in June. He can officially sign an offer on July 1.
The right-handed shot was a two-time Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, a 2012 and 2011 first-team All-American, two-time first-team All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association pick, two-time WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and twice led all NCAA defensemen in goals and points. Among the top-10 defensemen goal scorers in WCHA history, Schultz was the first defenseman in Wisconsin history to lead his team in goals after posting 16 this past season.
Schultz totaled 40 goals, 73 assists and 113 points, including 21 power-play goals and five game-winning scores, in his 121-game Badger career. Schultz also collected 28 multi-point games across three years with the Badgers.
He finished his career ranking third in UW history and ninth in WCHA history with 40 goals and tied for eighth in UW history among defenseman with 113 points. The first Badger to post consecutive 40-point seasons since former NHLer Robbie Earl and current San Jose Sharks’ forward Joe Pavelski back in 2004-06, Schultz also became the first UW defender since Brian Rafalski in the 1994-95 season to reach 100 career points.
Among team accomplishments, Schultz' college career highlight came in 2010, when the Badgers reached the 2010 NCAA Men's Frozen Four title game in Detroit.
This past season, Schultz was on the ice for 69 of Wisconsin's 105 goals, 27 of UW's 33 power-play goals and 10 of the squad's 17 game-winning tallies. Voted the team's Spike Carlson Most Valuable Player by his teammates, he also won the Dr. Joseph Coyne Most Consistent Player Award based on his team-leading plus-11.
Schultz now looks to join a long line of Badger defenseman in the NHL from the Mike Eaves’ coaching era at Wisconsin. That list includes Nashville’s Ryan Suter, New York Ranger Ryan McDonagh, Toronto’s Jake Gardiner, Carolina’s Jamie McBain, Detroit’s Brendan Smith, Minnesota’s Tom Gilbert and Los Angeles King Davis Drewiske. Columbus’ Cody Goloubef, Joe Piskula and former NHLer Andy Wozniewski have also played in the NHL after having played for Eaves at Wisconsin.
Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini discusses Justin Schultz