Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz played only three months with the Oklahoma City Barons but was so dominant he has been named the American Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year, entitled the Eddie Shore Award.
Schultz scored 48 points, including 30 assists, in 34 games with the Barons. During his three-month stay in OKC Schultz tied the franchise record by scoring at least one point in 10 consecutive games. He also had a nine-game point scoring streak.
Schultz is the first rookie in the 55-year history of the AHL award to earn the honor. Since joining the Oilers after the NHL lockout ended, Schultz has scored 21 points in 42 games with Edmonton. He’s the NHL’s top scoring rookie defenseman.
After three seasons at the University of Wisconsin, Schultz became a free agent through a loophole and signed with Edmonton last summer. He began his pro career in OKC during the NHL lockout.
Schultz’s specialty is special teams, a rare blue liner who can quarterback the power play. Of his 48 points with the Barons 25 came with the man advantage which still leads the Barons in power-play production. He also accounted for two of the Barons’ five shorthanded goals this season.
Despite spending half the season in the NHL Schultz has received four AHL awards. Last week he was named to the All Rookie Team and also was named a first team AHL All Star.
While in OKC Schultz was named AHL Player of the Month in October and selected the AHL Rookie of the Month in November.