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Oilers meet with free-agent Schultz in Toronto

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers
UPDATE: Thursday at 1:00pm:

The Oilers' contingent -- which included Taylor Hall -- visited with Schultz today in Toronto. General Manager Steve Tambellini was not present as he was attending his son's graduation.

"Hopefully (Schultz) feels he wants to join something that could soon be very special in the years to come." - Kevin Lowe.

Sherwood Park, AB
- It had been rumoured for weeks (if not months), but General Manager Steve Tambellini confirmed Wednesday the Oilers will be making a strong push to acquire free-agent defenceman Justin Schultz on Jul. 1.

President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig MacTavish will be meeting with Schultz in Toronto to make a pitch.

"There's going to be a lot of talk about Justin Schultz," Tambellini said as he addressed the media Wednesday morning to announce Ralph Krueger as the Oilers' new head coach. "Are we interested? Of course we are. With the chance to present -- what we believe is an incredible opportunity -- let's see what happens."

TSN's Bob McKenzie has reported that the Oilers are most certainly in the mix, in addition to the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and others. The 21-year-old spent 2011-12 with the University of Wisconsin, scoring 16 goals and 44 points in 37 games. He was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round, 43rd overall in 2008, but was not signed and became a UFA this past Sunday.

The West Kelowna, BC native will begin entertaining offers tonight but can't sign with anyone until Sunday.

I spoke to a reliable source during the Edmonton Oil Kings post-season run, and again at the NHL Scouting Combine last month, that said the Oilers have a "very, very good" chance at landing the 6'1", 186-pound rearguard because of the city and the team's obviously bright future -- citing the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle as hot selling points.

Still, it's possible (and perhaps likely) that he would want to return home and sign with the Canucks, or move east to play with his buddy, Jake Gardiner in Toronto. Due to the low dollar amount because of his rookie status, Schultz is the summer's hottest commodity on the open market.

-- Ryan Dittrick, - Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick
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