Courtesy of Point Park University

The 2019-20 prospectus: Justin Schultz


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This is the 21st installment in a series of profiles of members of the Penguins' major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.


Age: 29
Size: 6 foot 2, 193 pounds
Position: Defenseman
Acquired: Trade with Edmonton, 2016
Salary-cap hit: $5.5 million, through 2019-20
2018-19 NHL stats: Two goals, 13 assists in 29 games

How he fits: Schultz should slot in on the No. 2 defense pairing, likely opposite Marcus Pettersson or Jack Johnson, and will get significant power-play time. The latter will come on the top unit if Mike Sullivan decides to go with two defensemen when the Penguins have an extra man.

Shortcomings: Although Schultz has improved his play in the defensive zone since joining the Penguins, no one is going to mistake him for, say, Brian Dumoulin back there.

Strengths: Schultz is a gifted offensive defenseman. He's mobile and has a skills set that is complemented by superb instincts. Schultz seemed to recover fairly well from the ghastly broken leg that forced him to miss much of the 2018-19 season.

Hidden variable: Schultz will be a free agent next July unless the Penguins re-sign him before that, so he figures to be playing for the most lucrative contract of his career during 2019-20.

2019-20 expectations: After three-plus seasons with Schultz, the Penguins should know exactly what they're going to get from him: Strong, consistent offense that should translate to roughly one point every other game.

The big question: Will the Penguins go to extreme lengths to try to keep Schultz because of what he does for them offensively, or will he price himself out of their budget, perhaps even prompting Jim Rutherford to trade him rather than risk losing Schultz for no return next summer?

All profiles to date can be found here.


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