There isn't anyone out there in the hockey world right now who doesn't know who Justin Schultz is.
As an Oilers Blogger, I am quiet aware of the hype and Alure of having someone of his Calibre play for the "home" team, although no-one really knows who's team he's going to play for.
During the last week Justin has released a list of 5 teams that he would love to be apart of so it makes my job a bit more simple, thus not having to break down where he would fit with all 30 teams and what they could offer him for just one little signature.
Let's start off with his Home Team..
The Vancouver CANUCKS
I'm going to try to sound as little Bias as I can.
The Canucks, over the last 4 years have proven how Dominating they can be in this league, adding a Rookie defencemen who is NHL ready may not make thier team better considering thier already solid Defensive core and Prospects ready to make the jump, however, it's not going to make them worse.
As a Team who (besides last year) makes a solid bid for the stanley cup and not just the playoffs, they can offer him a vital chance of being apart of something that could go all the way vey soon. Something that besides the rangers, not one other team on his list could offer him.
The reason that Schultz hasn't made this his choice club already is because of his want to be apart of an NHL organization, and the Canucks are not in a position to offer him a Leading Defensive role. They have a very Good, and highly paid group already laying claim to thier top 4 so he can be expected to play an average of 10 minutes a game on the third line at the very best. Luckily for the Canucks however, British Columbia is his home and would be surrounded by supporting family members if he stays in Western Canada.
The New York RANGERS
The new york Rangers are the only American team being considered by the young super star because of a few reasons.
First they have Ryan McDonaugh who is a Buddy of his (like Jake Gardiner of the Toronto Maple Leafs), the other is that (like the Canucks) can offer him a solid chance of being apart of something wonderful as they are now considered a Stanley Cup contender. The Canucks Era is almost done however where as the Rangers are just starting thier push, so Schultz could be apart of a Stanley cup run every year for a few years with one of the (if not THE) greatest goalie in the League making his stats look more impressive then they would if he went to the Maple Leafs or Oilers.
The only negative when it comes to playing for the Rangers is that again, he would not be a top 4 Defencemen on this team. Everyone has growing pains and the Rangers and thier fans are not known for thier forgiving ways when he makes a mistake. So even is he starts out on the top 2 pairs, Look for him to drop down to the 3rd pair and his playing time to deminish.
The Ottawa SENATORS
Nothing satisfies me more then rubbing in my friends faces that I was right when it came to the Senators making the Playoffs last year. It may have suprised alot of people, but I'd be lying if I said that it was suprising to me. Murray is a very intelligent man, who does not make stupid decisions and would not offer Justin a contract if he didnt feel Justin could be an Vital Piece of this team right away.
He can Expect to be on the second Defensive pairing at the very least and play big minutes for an Organization that will give him time to grow. The Ottawa Senators may not be Stanley cup Contenders (but neither were the Kings?) however they can promise him earlier looks at the playoffs then Edmonton and Toronto can.
The Toronto MAPLE LEAFS
What better reason does someone need then to play with one of your best buds from College? Luckily Toronto can offer him more then just that, which is why they are considered the front runner to land this big ticket Defencemen.
First Toronto can offer him a spot on the Second defensive Pairing, at the very least, where he would flourish with above average minutes.
Second, Toronto is a massive hockey market, not one player has ever said that they want to play in a market like Florida or Phoenix. He will have Celebrity like Status (not that he wouldn't with any other team on his list).
Unfortunatley for Toronto, they have Terribly weak Goaltending which will make his stats look Terrible. Every Rookie has growing pains, even Stamkos did, so Expecting him to be a plus player at all on this team would be pushing it.
The Edmonton OILERS
Everyone knows that Justin Schultz best bet would be to sign with a team who's fan base has seen more downs then ups in Recent years.
1) The Oilers are in a position to make Justin an offer to be apart of the first defensive pairing, where no other contender for him is in position to make this offer.
2) He would become the Face of Edmontons defence like Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov are for Offence.
3)Edmonton is a very good Hockey Market, so he would recieve more Celebrity like Status then anyone else in the running for him.
4) He will be given an Opportunity to grow in an Organization who's fan base is one of the most forgiving in the League. So making mistakes are not going to be the end of the world on a Rebuilding team.
5) Goaltending, while an Issue still, is still more consistant then Toronto's. His stats would be influenced by his own actions.
6) He will be apart of a team with more people his age, and a team that plays heavily offensive. Coming to Edmonton will make one of the Leagues most discussed Franchises to date a Contender for a Playoff Push.
7) He would be in close proximity to his Family in BC still (not as close as Vancouver), so having family attend games is not out of the Question. Edmonton also plays the Canucks 6 times a year, so seeing family while in Vancouver once in a while may be all that he needs to eliminate the Canucks from his short list.
Everyone (other then Toronto, New York, Ottawa and Vancouver) knows that Edmonton is the wisest choice for him to make, but in the end, some things are more heavily valued then others. We shall see what those more valued Attributes are on July 1st.
Thanks for Reading.