Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently took a look at the situation facing Justin Schultz and the Pittsburgh Penguins. While there’s a chance the NHL playoffs could take place and Schultz could be part of that situation for the Penguins, once the season comes to a close, or if things don’t resume, Schultz’s time as Penguins’ defenseman is probably over.
There were moments this season where things appeared as though they could be turning around for Schultz. They just never quite did.
Schultz, 29, is a UFA this summer and he’s hitting free agency after a down season. He did not play nearly as well as he did when the Penguins first acquired him and poor underlying numbers likely means the Penguins, who are limited in cap space, will look at other options. Among them will be rookie defenseman John Marino who will be given a bigger role with the team.
Add to the concern Schutlz’s serious ankle injury and things look iffy at best. Should Schultz be willing to take a pay cut, the Penguins might consider an extension but there are likely enough teams out there that would look to adding Schultz on a multi-year deal that the Penguins look less likely an option.
Schultz Knows His Future Is Uncertain
Schultz understands he could be facing a different future. When asked about continuing to play for the Penguins, Schultz said he will worry about that this summer. His current concern is helping the Penguins have a special spring.
The only issue is now, there might not be a spring to help with. If the NHL doesn’t the get season going again (and that seems unlikely based on the fact the NHL told players they could travel home today), Schultz is just one of many players whose future with their respective teams may be in question.
Related: 24-Team Playoffs Coming to the NHL?
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