Oilers re-sign Justin Schultz, the Canucks lower the bar of expectations, Flames invite Sheldon Brookbank to training camp and the Canadiens slowly return to Montreal.
EDMONTON JOURNAL/EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson and Derek Van Diest offer up their respective takes on the Oilers re-signing defenseman Justin Schultz yesterday to a one-year, $3.675 million contract. Both agree the deal buys the Oilers some time to further evaluate Schultz before re-signing him to a lengthier deal. Schultz is happy with the deal and is keen to prove his worth this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal went through without any rancor. Both sides appeared to approach this rationally and when they couldn’t work out a two-three year bridge deal agreed to settle on this one-year contract fairly quickly. A strong performance by Schultz this season will certainly bolster his chances for a more lucrative contract. Schultz has considerable promise and could become a top-two defenseman one day, but his play last season indicates he still has adjustments to make to his game. The Oilers want to see how much he improves this season before determining how much they’ll invest in Schultz and for how long.
THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Unless the previous Canucks front office, the current staff has lowered expectations, preferring to reach the playoffs instead of talking about Stanley Cup contention.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because, despite the changes made this year, the Canucks aren’t legitimate Stanley Cup contenders anymore. Their window closed two years ago. Their current core is aging and there’s not a lot of promising youth on their roster or in their system. The Canucks should be improved this season, but it’s about making the playoffs and being competitive while management tries to restock their prospect depth. In other words, they’re rebuilding on the fly, going through a gradual transition rather than a significant overall.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames have invited former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to training camp on a tryout basis.
LA PRESSE: The Canadiens are slowly returning to Montreal in preparation for training camp on September 18.