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Insider Only Can the Penguins fix Justin Schultz?

justin schultz

The view in Edmonton of the Justin Schultz trade is that it’s remarkable the Oilers got a third round pick for him. He’s that bad in his own end.

The view in Pittsburgh is they got a very talented offensive defenseman who can somehow transform into an adequate enough defender in his own end with a change of scenery.

“He’s very good on the offensive side. He still needs to work on the defensive side,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said of Schultz. “We think the change of scenery for him is going to be good.”

Rutherford said they wanted to stick with having speed on the back end. “We were trying to add some depth to our defense and we were very pleased to add him,” Rutherford said. “Our approach was to go with more speed, more transition game from our backend. This is a player that will be able to help that.”

Even though Schultz is a restricted free agent at seasons end, the Penguins are kind of looking at him for now as a rental. Rutherford said they’ll see how he fits and go from there.

What the Penguins are developing is an identity on the backend. Speed and puck movers, a team built on a quick first pass to exit the zone and attack off the rush.

It is a winning recipe in the playoffs? We’ll find out soon enough.

For Schultz who likely won’t play until Saturday vs Calgary, unless he arrives sooner than expected, he’ll have maybe only a couple weeks to try to lock down a spot in the lineup with Ben Lovejoy expected back in mid-to-late March from a shoulder injury.

The hockey sense is his own end is said to be one of his major flaws along with a lack of physical strength and poor competitiveness. Schultz really struggles with reads, especially in defending the cycle, scouts note. One scout in being pretty critical said Schultz Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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