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Penguins acquire defenseman Schultz from Oilers

Edmonton gets 2016 third-round pick in return

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday acquired defenseman Justin Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Schultz, 25, has 28 goals and 101 points in 248 NHL games, all with the Oilers. He has three goals and 10 points in 45 games this season, but Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said he expects a change of scenery will help Schultz be more productive.

"We were trying to add some depth to our defense and were very pleased we could add him," Rutherford said. "[Edmonton is] a team that's been building with a lot of young players and they've been going through that rebuilding and have just had a lot of really young, skilled players, and it hasn't all come together for them. I think they're getting closer now, but when you have that many young players, it can be difficult for everybody. So, we're hoping the change for him will be good."

The Penguins, who wanted to add more speed to their defense, and Oilers had discussed Schultz for about a week; key to getting the trade done was Edmonton agreeing to retain half of Schultz's $3.9 million salary-cap charge, Rutherford said.

With defenseman Ben Lovejoy recovering from an upper-body injury that is expected to keep him out long-term, the Penguins were looking to add more depth on defense. Rutherford said it will be up to coach Mike Sullivan to decide where Schultz fits into the lineup.

"Exactly who he ends up playing with, when he plays and things like that … [Schultz is] very good on the offensive side, still needs some work on the defensive side," Rutherford said.

Schultz, who will not arrive in Pittsburgh until Wednesday or Thursday because of visa issues, signed a one-year contract with Edmonton on July 15, 2015, to avoid salary arbitration. Rutherford didn't say if Pittsburgh expects to retain Schultz long-term.

"He's still a pretty young guy. There are some things he has to work on, on his game," Rutherford said. "We think a change of scenery for him is going to be good and we'll see how it goes. We retained his rights for at least one more year and we'll see how the fit is."

Rutherford didn't rule out another trade. He said Pittsburgh has been looking to add depth at all positions.

"We're still in business," Rutherford said. "I'm not saying we're doing something else, but why would we close the door when we still have a couple more days here? You never know what comes up."

The Oilers also traded goalie Anders Nilsson and forward Teddy Purcell on Saturday. Nilsson went to the St. Louis Blues for goalie Niklas Lundstrom and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, and Purcell was sent to the Florida Panthers for a third-round selection in the 2016 draft.

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