It appears that there is yet another name on the trade block in terms of defenseman. Renaud Lavoie tweeted out recently that Oilers' Justin Schultz was scratched Tuesday night:
I think this has been a long time coming for Oil Country. The team's defense is one of the absolute worst in the league, and is in dire need of upgrade through draft and development.
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan weighed in on his reason for scratching Schultz on Tuesday: "He needs to watch a game and reflect on his play and what his impact is both offensively and defensively." (Credit to the Edmonton Oilers official Twitter account.)
Why it makes sense to trade for Justin Schultz
The Red Wings need to shake up their defense to start improving. Trading for a guy like Schultz might help with the power-play, as he's second in scoring defensemen for the Oilers in that regard. Not saying very much, as he only has five power-play points. Riveting.
I'll be honest, there aren't many reasons that make sense out of trading for Schultz. Since 2012, he's sustained a 45.38% score-adjusted corsi percentage. Granted, the Oilers haven't been good at all, but still, when he's off the ice it seems that their corsi percentage increases by a thin margin.
I suppose the biggest thing about Schultz is that he could be a good bargain. When you look at what Edmonton traded Jeff Petry for last season, you'd have to think that a guy like Schultz could be had for dirt cheap. However, just because he's cheap doesn't mean it's the right move. Another key plus to this is that Edmonton might be willing to take a salary dump such as Kyle Quincey, or Jakub Kindl. I'm not sure Edmonton bites on that, but it could be something to keep in mind.
Why it doesn't make sense to trade for Justin Schultz
Let's dive on in. First thing, he's overpaid. Schultz makes $3.9 million this year, and is a restricted free agent this summer. It would be nice to acquire a guy who is RFA status so it can be cost-controlled, but Schultz will likely require a contract that I am not willing to sign at this point. Even just to sign his qualifying offer would be at least 100% of what he's paid now. Sure, he's 25 years old, but we've made this mistake before.
Another reason why this wouldn't make any sense is because I genuinely believe the Red Wings have better options in Grand Rapids than with Schultz. Xavier Ouellet, Robbie Russo, Nick Jensen, hell even Ryan Sproul. They're cheaper, younger, and have higher ceilings than that of a guy like Schultz.
He's bottom-four defenseman at a high-cost. Even with retained salary, if you look at re-signing him, you're barking up the wrong tree.
Likelihood of happening: 2/10
I could be way off with my projected likelihood of Ken Holland dealing for Schultz, but I just can't make sense of it. He's simply paid too much for what he is - A bottom-pairing depth player who hasn't lived up to expectations. Call it Oilers bias because that team is historically bad in every facet, but if I'm Ken Holland, I wouldn't touch Justin Schultz with a 900-foot pole. We have plenty of overpaid defensemen who don't live up to expectations (Kindl, Ericsson).
Maybe I'm wrong, though. Maybe Schultz goes into Blashill's system and flourishes. That's a big gamble. One that I don't think the Red Wings can afford at this time. Not with the thine line they're walking in terms of contending and rebuilding. Pass.