Jeff Schultz likes what he has seen from the Washington Capitals through his first four NHL seasons and the club is excited about what the 24-year-old provides for their future.
When it comes to the four-year contract extension Schultz signed with the team Wednesday, it appears that everybody won.
Schultz, who was a League-leading plus-50 this past season while recording 3 goals and 23 points in 73 games and is plus-80 for his career, avoided arbitration in agreeing to the deal.
"I saw salary arbitration as kind of a precautionary measure in case something didn't get done so we weren't left with nothing, but I'm glad we were able to get a deal done before it happened," Schultz said during a conference call.
Schultz gave up one of his unrestricted free agent years in the process, but said it was a worthy tradeoff for financial security with a solid organization.
"I like the four-year deal. It does take away one year as a UFA, but I was happy with what the numbers were and willing to give up that one year," he said.
"It kind of means that I'm in their plans for the long term here. … They want me to be part of the team for a while. They're doing better each year and on the uprise, and I'd like to be part of that."
After putting up 121 points during the regular season and winning the Presidents' Trophy, the Capitals were ousted by the Canadiens in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, blowing a 3-1 series lead in the process. They also lost in Game 7 to the Penguins in the second round in 2009 and to the Flyers in the first round the year before that.
As such, there was talk GM George McPhee might look to make significant changes with the roster, but other than not re-signing veteran goaltender Jose Theodore and giving Michal Neuvirth the opportunity to form a young goalie tandem with Semyon Varlamov, the personnel has largely remained the same. Schultz is happy about that.
"Hearing what George has said, it looks like he's going with youth this year," he said. "They weren't going to change too much because they're happy with the regular season. The playoffs, I think everybody's still trying to forget about that, but have young team again this year and I think we're pretty stuck on the team we have."