More Justin Schultz: I don’t understand. Please explain why he isn’t a free agent NOW.

Look, I’m sure it’s buried in the CBA somewhere. I’m sure everyone else is right and I’m wrong. But, as I said in an earlier post, I just don’t get why Justin Schultz isn’t an unrestricted free agent as of June 1, today.

Hope fading fast for Ducks to land Schultz – Orange County Register

As TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie posted on his Twitter account earlier this week, the Ducks have until June 24 to sign Schultz as they had 30 days to work out a contract after the 21-year-old filed paperwork to leave the University of Wisconsin. No one has disputed that date.

ME. I AM DISPUTING IT. I’m probably wrong. But I’m disputing it.

But the signs are increasing that Schultz won’t sign with the Ducks and is intent on choosing to entertain offers from other teams, which can begin at 5 p.m. ET as McKenzie reported. Any team can officially sign Schultz on July 1, when he can become an unrestricted free agent.

Don’t see why he would have to wait till July 1, either. Especially if the Ducks have until June 24 to sign him. Why is he in a no-man’s land from the 25th through the 31st? Where does the CBA say anything about this?

[...] The fact is Murray hasn’t been able to land the talented blue-liner despite offering the maximum allowable [...]. Ducks executives have been unable to convince Schultz that Anaheim is the right spot for him [...].

It has led to much consternation within the Ducks’ front office, which until the last few weeks has been of strong belief that Schultz wanted to play with the club. The club was ready and willing to burn the first year of a two-year entry level contract as they hoped to play him on the final three-game road trip to western Canada.

The Ducks were out of the playoff picture at that point. Were they offering this just to entice Schultz (with the willingness to burn a year and let him become an RFA a year sooner)? If so, that hardly suggests that the Ducks “were of the strong belief” that Schultz wanted to play for them. It’s desperate.

Adding him would likely make veteran Lubomir Visnovsky expendable but that is how badly they want Schultz.

“Several members of our staff have had conversations with Justin over the last few years, where he has expressed a strong interest in being an Anaheim Duck,” Murray told the Register in April.

Seems like maybe he was blowing smoke up your ass, Bob.

Seen as a top-four NHL defenseman upon arrival, Schultz might become the top free agent that’s not named Ryan Suter or Zach Parise. The Ducks wanted to put the two-time All-American on their blue line given his 6-foot-2 frame and elite puck-moving skills but the right-shooting Schultz resisted, electing to finish out his spring semester in Madison.

Vancouver is believed to be hot for Schultz and the Canucks could be a natural fit given he’s from British Columbia. The Canucks are deep on defense but could open a spot if they cut ties with longtime rearguard Sami Salo, an impending UFA who’ll be 38 in September.

Edmonton, Toronto, Boston and the New York Rangers have also been rumored to be potential landing spots for Schultz. Detroit could also become a player if Suter opts to re-sign with Nashville and doesn’t hit the market.

The Ducks may consider the option of trading away Schultz’s rights before July 1 but there are problems with that scenario.

The main problem with that scenario is that, as far as I can tell, they lost his rights today. But what do I know?

 
  • scsf

    Good questions.  Could the June 24 date possibly be due to 8.6(d) Bona Fide offers?  Though McKenzie seems to be describing the situation in somewhat different terms (exclusive window to work out a contract etc…).  Certainly everything that falls neatly under 8.6(c) (College Players) has June 1 expiration dates (specifically 8.6(c)(ii) in his case, if I’m not mistaken).

    As for July 1, I suppose it’s a relevant date due to the fact that it’s the official beginning of the NHL calendar year, so though Schultz would be a free agent a week earlier, it’d be time out for the other teams, just as with typical UFAs.  

    I’m probably wrong on both accounts, but I’m somewhat curious now, too.  Not curious enough to spend more than 5 minutes looking through the CBA though.