Jeff Schultz Re-signs

The Washington Capitals have re-signed Jeff Schultz to a four year contract worth $11 million.  The average salary over the duration of the contract will be around $2.75 million per year.  This surely should come with some sort of relief to the Caps, as this signing prevents an arbitrator from determining Schultz’s worth.  However, I would have been shocked to see an arbitrator place Shultz’s worth at more than the $2.75 million he will receive starting next season.  This will come as a healthy raise for Schultz who earned just $715,000 last season.

On paper, Schultz is in every way deserving of the increase he will receive starting next season.  Schultz had a career year for himself, while playing along side Mike Green for most of the 2009-2010 campaign.  Schultz, 24, lead the NHL in +/- with a rating of +50.  Schultz also managed to increase totals in all major offensive categories, including goals (3), assists (20), and points (23).

So why do I say “on paper”?

Jeff Schultz has made drastic improvements.  That cannot be denied.  But Schultz still carries the stigma with him of not being the physical defenseman he should be, one with a 6’6″, 230lbs frame.  He has also managed two consecutive playoff runs of below average play when he is needed most.  Despite the solid numbers during the regular season, Schultz faded in the playoffs.  In 2009, Schultz remained a healthy scratch after a subpar game 1 against the New York Rangers.  During the last two playoffs, Schultz  managed just a -4 in 10 games with just one assist to his credit.

Schultz is positioning himself to be the shutdown defenseman the Caps have needed and coveted for so long.  It is apparent the Capitals will not be making significant moves this free agency period.  The one missing piece to the Capitals’ puzzle has long been the absence of a shutdown defenseman to control the front of the net, and be a safety measure in the Caps’ high octane offensive scheme.  Schultz certainly has the size to fit this bill, but is the physicality there?  Schultz often appears soft and timid in his own zone.  Granted, Schultz certainly helps make amends with his positioning and stick checking.  He is fantastic in those areas.  But the M.O. of a shutdown defenseman is one that makes opponents fear him.  Currently Schultz doesn’t have it.  That said, he is only 24 years old and still has his best years ahead of him.  Ultimately I do believe Schultz can mold himself into the shutdown type defenseman the Caps desperately need.

Schultz now has $11 million reason to not disappoint.

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Filed Under: Eastern ConferenceNHLNHL TeamsWashington Capitals


About the Author: Jeremy is a life time hockey fan currently living in Washington DC. Jeremy also runs a Capitals blog called The Nation's Capitals where he frequently posts blogs about the state of the Caps. His other interests include music and politics. Jeremy has a degree in Political Science. Being from DC, politics kind of comes with the territory.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LightningShout and Jeremy Scriven . Jeremy Scriven said: Capitals Re-sign Jeff Schultz. Now at Hockey Indpendent. [...]

  2. wittcap79 says:

    Just FTR, Schultz suffered a broken rib in the playoff series with the Rangers. Although he may have been a “healthy scratch” officially, he was certainly not healthy.

    • Jeremy Scriven says:

      I’ll agree with you on that point. However, based on the fact that we never saw Schultzy again after Brandon Dubinsky undressed him in game 1, I’d bet he was healthy enough to play.
      Schultz is making huge strides though. I believe his future is bright.

  3. Fred Poulin says:

    The Caps definitely need more toughness on their blue line and Schultz won’t help them in this department.

  4. Aunt Bea says:

    The Caps still need a shut down defenseman, which Schultz is not. The pairing of Green-Schultz is not one that you lineup against the other team’s top offensive pairing. Instead Green-Schultz are out there when the Caps’ top two lines are on the ice. Opposing teams are playing their checking lines against Ovie and company. So you’ve got a situation where Schultz happens to be playing with perhaps the top offensive line in the league and consistently against lineups geared to stop the Caps big line rather than scoring. Thus, Schultz’s +/- is overly inflated and not representative of his defensive ability.

  5. Rachel says:

    Just because he is BIG does not mean he HAS to be physical. He has value in other ways…he is by far our most responisble defensemen and can screen the goalie…being physical can also cause a player to fall out of position….he was paired with Green…he HAD to be in position because lord knew what Green was doing (I mean I like Green, but he can leave his partener hanging a lot). Also I think Schultz still has a lot of potential to improve and has done so every season…In four years this deal will possibly be a steal for us.

  6. Fred Poulin says:

    He’s a young Hal Gill. Gill is not very physical, but he is good with his stick and has tremendous shot blocking abilities.

    • Jeremy Scriven says:

      Here Here Fred. I thought Schultz did a great job defensively without being the physical force one would expect from a 6 foot dman. But boy it would be nice to add a little snarl to his game.

  7. Rachel says:

    I really believe he will add some “snarl” to his game this coming season…he seems to be a good guy who would want to prove that he is worth his contract. He will never be a truly physical D man but he will add some grit…he doesn’t need too much…his size alone should give players pause once he shows he can b tough.