Pending a decision from Matt Cullen, who’s first choice is to sign with the Minnesota Wild, the Penguins roster for next season is nearly complete following today’s signing of Justin Schultz to a one year, $1.4 million contract.
Schultz who made $3.9 million last season, did not receive a qualifying offer from the Penguins making him an unrestricted free agent.
A strong market for Schultz did not develop during the free agency frenzy after a potential opportunity with the Florida Panthers fell through as Florida went in another direction, sources say.
Prior to free agency, the Penguins gave Schultz’ agent Wade Arnott a ballpark number on what they’d be willing to offer. The Schultz camp shopped around and came to the conclusion this week that the best opportunity to rebuild his value was a return to Pittsburgh and continue to work with the likes of Sergei Gonchar.
Schultz picked the Penguins over a similar offer from the Los Angeles Kings, per a source close to the situation. Schultz taking a big pay cut was more to do with there just being no market for him to make close to what he made last season than the player making a big sacrifice financially to return to Pittsburgh.
What does the Schultz signing mean for the Penguins?
It solidifies their top-7 on the blueline and with Mike Sullivan a big fan of having defensemen playing their proper sides, Schultz will likely go into camp as the No. 6 defenseman on a third pair with Ian Cole.
The Schultz signing means no spot will be handed to Derrick Pouliot.Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"