Red Wings: Justin Schultz a passive option to consider in free agency

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings can go out and sign Justin Schultz as a more passive free-agent addition for the 2020-21 season.

While the name Justin Schultz may not ring a bell to many Detroit Red Wings fans, he is another option that they can pursue. The hope is that General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman is going to empty his pockets a bit this offseason.

Names like Torey Krug who’s recent rumors seem to have him heading to test out the waters of free agency. Having backup plans is crucial, and another option for the Red Wings is defenseman Justin Schultz.

He may not be a flashy name like some of the others, but is a defenseman who could add some help to the organization’s blueline. He is not a top pairing player like Alex Pietrangelo or Krug (to an extent), but he would surely be an upgrade for this organization.

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Schultz is an eight-year veteran of the National Hockey League (NHL), starting off his career with the Edmonton Oilers before being shipped off to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2016 trade deadline.

While he may not be the offensively gifted player that Krug is, he has shown signs of being a talented player. Schultz has been inconsistent but has strung together a few good campaigns that should make him an attractive under the radar addition to consider.

In 2019-20, Schult played in 46 games for the Penguins, scoring only three goals, adding nine assists, totaling 12 points on the season. He was a minus-13 on the season, which sadly fits in perfect with the 2019-20 Red Wings defense core.

Something else to note about his shortened 2019-20 performance, he posted a 51.0 Corsi For percentage (CF%), which was just a tick under the Penguins team’s average. Schultz seems like he could be another type of defenseman that adds to the organization’s struggling backend.

This is not arguing that Schultz is a better get than Krug and company, but if Yzerman wants to take a chance on a shorter-term contract passively, Schultz might be worth a look. The only thing that might hold Yzerman back is the previous contract could cloud Schultz’s head.

On his last contract, Schultz had a three-year, $16.5 million contract, and his previous three seasons have not been the most impressive. But if Schultz is receptive to another short-term contract, this might be a player to consider for Yzerman.

He may be able to save some money to address another area if he feels he can take a passive route for the defense core and get a player like Schultz rather than Krug. This would be the passive route for Yzerman, but should not be frowned upon by the organization.

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However, the Detroit Red Wings need to make a splash in the market, a passive option on defense to save more money for another need might be best, which is why Justin Schultz should be considered.