Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Nick Schultz was brought in to be a seventh defensemen in the summer of 2014. Injuries and trades forced him into the lineup for 81 games and he was given a 2 year extension during the season.
Now heading into a season where the Flyers weakest area is the defense, Schultz will be asked to likely play regular minutes.
Schultz’s boxcar stats weren’t horrible. His PIMs were reasonable, and he chipped in double digit assists. Possession however, paints a much different story.
Via Own the Puck
Schultz had a negative impact on the puck possession of his teammates. That’s not good. He only had a positive impact on goals against because of the stellar play of Steve Mason behind him.
Via Own the Puck
In terms of possession rates, Schultz strength was in suppressing shots against. Even then, that strength was still a bottom pair level talent. He had a sub-replacement level talent for generating offense and outside of assists, was a sub-replacement level scorer.
To be perfectly blunt, given the fact that Schultz is now a year older, he’s likely going to get worse. At best, his role at this point is a 7th defender. At worst, he’s a useful top pair option for a team attempting to tank, and given the logjam of defenders like him, MacDonald, Schenn and Gudas, his extension is inexplicable.
But Nick Schultz is here, and that’s a bigger problem because, having so many players with similar talent levels makes it nearly impossible for the young guns of the future like Sam Morin, Robert Hagg and Shayne Gostisbehere to find their way into the lineup.
Luckily, the short term of the deal hopefully means that Schultz can get the Grossmann treatment at the trade deadline or the 2016 draft and open up a spot for someone with a future.