The Pittsburgh Penguins were looking to bolster their defensive depth leading up to the 2016 trade deadline, and the Edmonton Oilers were looking to unload offensive defenseman Justin Schultz.
As a result, the two teams managed to find a fit – and Schultz, who becomes an RFA this summer, was dealt to the Eastern Conference.
Heading to Pittsburgh is the 25 year old blue liner, finishing up his one year deal with Edmonton from the summer of 2015. Originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Schultz opted to head to free agency following three seasons at the University of Wisconsin and has remained with Edmonton ever since. This season, he boasts three goals and 10 points, although he’s only appeared in 43 games due to healthy scratches and an injury.
Heading back to Edmonton is a third round pick, which is a reasonable return for a defenseman who could bloom into a solid middle-pairing player with power play instincts. For a high cap hit, though, it’s fair to see the Penguins sell low on the blue liner.
At the time the trade was initially broken, Edmonton was retaining no salary for Schultz – but shortly after the trade was announced, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN confirmed that the Oilers will retain 50% of Schultz’s salary moving forward.