In what was probably the quietest off-season signing in Los Angeles, the Kings picked up free-agent defenseman Jeff Schultz who had spent his entire seven-year career with the Washington Capitals.
As much faith as they have in Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles Kings have continued to emphasize the importance of both defensive skill and size on the blueline, giving their netminder as much relief as possible. At 6’6, 227 pounds, Schultz should fit right into his new team’s defensive unit – even if many fans in Los Angeles don’t know very much about the Calgary native.
Like Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr, Jeff Schultz should quietly fit in by flexing his defensive muscle which saw him block 28 shots in 26 games last season for the Caps. Like Matt Greene, Shultz has the ability to use his size to his advantage, although he did only register 17 hits and 12 penalty minutes last season. If anything, the latter should be seen as a positive as it simply shows the blueliner’s high discipline level.
Offensively, the 27-year-old helped out with three assists and accumulated a less-than-modest -6 rating while averaging just below 15 minutes of ice time per game. On the flip side, Schultz was one of the few defensemen last seasons to have more takeaways (5) than giveaways (4).
Like Ben Scrivens, the jury is still out on Jeff Schultz and will likely remain so for at least the first few weeks of the season.
Jeff Schultz, who was drafted 27th overall by Washington in 2004, has, if nothing else, size and a high-level of defensive skill on his side – and quite frankly, if general manager Dean Lombardi’s philosophy means anything, that will be good enough for fans in La-La Land.