Coveted free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz reportedly has cut his list of desirable teams to sign with to five.
TSN reported Wednesday that the Canucks, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Senators and Oilers have made the cut. Among those eliminated from the bidding were the Red Wings, Flyers and Blackhawks.
Schultz has been in Toronto the last two days for meetings with his agents and prospective teams. TSN reported that with his final list of teams set, he'll begin another round of talks.
Schultz, a 21-year-old 2008 draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, became an unrestricted free agent last week when he withdrew from the University of Wisconsin and failed to reach a deal with the Ducks in the team's exclusive 30-day negotiating window.
A two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist at Wisconsin, Schultz is considered by many scouts as the best player not currently in the NHL.
Schultz is eligible for a two-year, entry-level contract, so the financial package from each team is the same. Instead, he's looking for the best roster fit, including a chance to step onto a team and play top-four defense minutes right away. And the native of West Kelowna, B.C., also reportedly would like to play for a Canadian team, preferably in the west.
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