Justin Schultz has the potential to be a high-end offensive weapon on the blueline for the Oilers.
He flashed that potential playing in the American Hockey League during the 2012-13 season when he had 48 points (18-30-48) in 34 games. He then put up 27 points in 48 games during his lockout-shortened NHL rookie season.
But after three seasons in the professional ranks, one area of Schultz’s game he wants to work on is his strength to help with his battles and defensive game.
“It’s something that’s what I’ve always had to do in the off-season: get stronger and more explosive,” Schultz said on Oilers Now. “Definitely one of the things (the Oilers) communicated to me was getting more powerful in that aspect of my game. I think I’ve been working on that pretty good right now. I’ve still got a couple months here left but it’s been going well and I’m excited to get back to Edmonton and get going.”
Schultz has been hitting the gym in Kelowna this off-season and says he feels more powerful and more explosive. He also says he’s noticed more muscle when he steps on the scale.
The Oilers blueliner told Bob Stauffer that he wants to play with an edge like Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. That pushback starts this season, according to Schultz.
“It’s something I’m always trying to improve on and there’s no better time than this year to start showing that,” said Schultz. “I need to play with an edge. It helps to be a better player and helps with every part of your game so it’s something I’m going to try to do this year.”
Adding strength, playing with more of an edge and developing more consistency in his game are on Schultz’s wish list for the 2015-16 season. Schultz and the Oilers agreed to terms on a one-year contract on Wednesday. The 25-year-old has played 203 NHL games in his career, scoring 25 goals and adding 66 assists.