Justin Schultz (born July 6, 1990) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman. He is currently playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Schultz was born in Kelowna, British Columbia, but grew up in Westbank, British Columbia.
Schultz played collegiate hockey for the University of Wisconsin Badgers which competed in the WCHA, playing in 121 games and amassing 40 goals and 73 assists before declaring for the draft as a junior. He was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks, Schultz was unable to come to terms on a contract with the team. During the last week of May 2012, Schultz officially "de-registered" from the University of Wisconsin triggering a process that made him an unrestricted free agent (UFA). According to league rules, from the time Anaheim was given notice of the de-registration from school, they had a 30-day exclusive window to try to sign him or trade him. Anaheim was ultimately unable to sign him. Schultz was heavily recruited by up to 26 teams as a free agent, with the Edmonton Oilers having Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey personally recruit him. On June 30, 2012, Schultz agreed to a two-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
Schultz played the first 34 games of his professional career in the AHL while recording 48 points in 34 games, leading all defencemen in scoring. He was ultimately awarded the AHL's Eddie Shore Award in 2012-13 as the league's top defenceman despite participating in less than half of the Oklahoma City Barons' games.
Schultz later played his first NHL game in the first Oilers game following the 2012–13 NHL lock-out against the Vancouver Canucks. He scored his first goal during the next game, the Oilers' home opener, against Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks on January 22, 2013.
On August 28, 2014, Schultz signed a new one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers valued at $3.675 million.
On February 27, 2016, with the Oilers out of playoff contention for the 2015–16 season, and suffering the worst season of his professional career with 10 points in 45 games, Schultz was traded from the Oilers to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 2016 third round draft pick. On June 12, 2016, Schultz won his first Stanley Cup when the Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals.
On July 13, 2016, after testing free agency, Schultz returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins, signing a one-year, $1.4 million contract.
In the 2016–17 season, Schultz had a break-out year in his first full season with the Penguins. He set career highs in goals (12), assists (39), points (51), penalties in minutes (34), power-play points (20), and shots on goal (154). In addition, for the first time in his career, he finished a season with a positive plus-minus. His total number of assists, points, points per game played, and plus-minus each finished within the top 10 in their respective categories among defencemen, and he emerged as the top blue-liner for the Penguins due to star defenceman Kris Letang being limited to only 41 games with various injuries. He won his second Stanley Cup as a member of the Penguins on June 11, 2017.
Regular season and playoffs
|2009–10||University of Wisconsin||WCHA||43||6||16||22||12||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||University of Wisconsin||WCHA||41||18||29||47||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||University of Wisconsin||WCHA||37||16||28||44||12||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Oklahoma City Barons||AHL||34||18||30||48||6||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honours
|All-WCHA Rookie Team||2009–10|
|All-WCHA First Team||2010–11|
|WCHA Defensive Player of the Year||2010–11|
|AHCA West First-Team All-American||2010–11|
|All-WCHA First Team||2011–12|
|WCHA Defensive Player of the Year||2011–12|
|AHCA West First-Team All-American||2011–12|
|CCM/AHL Player of the Week (Ending Oct 21)||2012–13|
|CCM/AHL Player of the Month (Oct 2012)||2012–13|
|CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month (Nov 2012)||2012–13|
|AHL Defenseman of the Year||2012–13|
|NHL All-Rookie Team||2012–13|
|Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh Penguins)||2015–16, 2016–17|