Oilers land Wisconsin’s Schultz

From the CBC …

The Edmonton Oilers decision to take sniper forward Nail Yakupov over steady defenceman Ryan Murray looks even better now that the Oilers landed prized unrestricted free agent defenceman Justin Schultz.

In dramatic fashion that played out on Twitter on Saturday afternoon, Schultz and his representatives began contacting the six teams that made his shortlist. The Canucks, Rangers, Wild and Maple Leafs were all informed that they had lost their bid to sign the native of West Kelowna, B.C. to a three-year entry level contract.

The decision came down to the Senators and Oilers, the two most talented young teams based in Canada, and Schultz chose Edmonton, which even had Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey call Schultz on the Oilers behalf to help their recruiting cause.

Schultz felt that the Oilers provided the best opportunity to grow with a young group of talented players, including forward Taylor Hall who also met with Schultz to try and sway him to come to Edmonton.

“You look at what they have there, the type of team there with all those young guys who are turning into superstars,” Schultz said. “The have a strong core of young prospects and that was intriguing to me.

“The coach, Ralph Krueger, also came in to talk to me about what style he wants to play and I didn’t think there would be a better fit.”

Schultz will travel to Edmonton to meet with local reporters and some of the Oilers staff on Sunday. His two-year, entry-level contract has a base salary of $925,000, but potential bonuses will make him a cap hit of $3,775,000.

Schultz, who turns 22 on Friday, remarked that he hasn’t been promised a spot on the Oilers roster next season, but with his strong skating and offensive ability he sure had scouts excited about his future. Twenty-six teams were interested in signing him when he became an unrestricted free agent last Monday.

“I don’t want to be the guy that gets a guaranteed spot. I want to earn it and you should have to earn it in the NHL.”

Originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round in 2007, the University of Wisconsin product became a free agent through a loophole when he left school in February.

“This is a massive day for the Oilers because of how people view what we’re doing here,” Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said.

Edmonton now has 18 players under contract with a $47.5-million payroll. That means the Oilers still have $22.7-million in salary cap space.

Although Tambellini said the Oilers will be active when the free-agent frenzy opens its doors on Sunday, here is projected look at what the Oilers season-opening roster looks like now:

Forwards

Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov – Shawn Horcoff – Ales Hemsky

Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Sam Gagner

Ben Eager – Anton Lander – Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson

Defencemen

Ryan Whitney – Nick Schultz

Ladislav Smid – Justin Schultz

Corey Potter – Jeff Petry

Goalies

Devan Dubnyk – Nikolai Khabiblulin

Weekend reading: Clarke, NCHC, USNTDP, Duluth, Minnesota

Former Tiger Noah Clarke, pictured, should be a star for the Belfast Giants of the British Elite Ice Hockey League.

The last sentence of the linked article is telling.  Apparently the team has a program that pays for his masters degree at a Belfast university. Very smart move for a veteran player preparing for life after the game.

He will be back in Germany this October representing Belfast, the British league champs, in the Continental Cup. He played only 18 games last season in the German league before an injury ended his year.

Chris Peters thinks UConn and Notre Dame are a huge boost for Hockey East and argues the National Collegiate Hockey Conference lost out in a chance for name recognition. This UND blogger talks about that and gets some reaction from NCHC fans.

Another USNTDP player skips out on Michigan and heads to the Canadian junior leagues.

It looks like former North Dakota standout Chay Genoway will get another shot with the Wild. He definitely deserves it.

Here are the Minnesota-Duluth players headed to NHL development camps. Here are the Gophers.

The UMass head coach search is heating up and the rumors are flying.

Friday reading: NHL free agency, BC should leave Hockey East?

CC captain William Rapuzzi celebrated his goal against Boston College during the 2011 NCAA Tournament West regional in St. Louis.

Four of the top 10 NHL free agent defensemen are WCHA alumni. Thanks to Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald for tweeting the article.

This BC fan blog thinks the Eagles should leave Hockey East to create a stronger six-team league of the top-tier teams.

Mandi Schwartz continues to inspire her former Yale teammates.

Several WCHA players have done well at summer prospects camps. Others are headed to them now.

A Denver recruit is considering the Windsor Spitfires.

Here are more North Dakota links. A former UND defenseman re-signs with Tampa Bay.

Thursday reading: Schmaltz, Connolly, WCHA, CCHA, AHA

Incoming UND freshman Jordan Schmaltz will be approached again and again by the Windsor Spitfires this summer to join them.

Hobey Baker winner Jack Connolly is up for an ESPY.

The WCHA had 13 players drafted last weekend.

The CCHA had 16 selected. Here is the 2012-13 Atlantic Hockey Association composite schedule.

Wednesday reading: Future Wisconsin at CC nonconference games, Hillen, Schultz, Prosser video, Rau, Fredheim, UND, Minnesota, NMU

Chad Rau is joined by Wild teammates to celebrate his goal during the second period on January 21, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. It was Rau’s NHL debut. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Wisconsin’s nonconference schedule is coming together with plans for single road games at CC and Denver during the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons and a two-game road series during the 2013-14 season. Do not be surprised to see either Minnesota or Air Force as the other opponent on those single-game weekends. Either way it is a great weekend for ticket sales at World Arena. Here is the 2012-13 Tigers schedule.

Former Tiger Jack Hillen did not receive a qualifying offer from Nashville and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie listed Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Philadelphia and the N.Y. Rangers as the most likely landing spots for free agent Justin Schultz, who may decide as early as today.

Nate Prosser was a crowd favorite during the Wild road tour. He is interviewed in this video as is former Pioneer Jason Zucker.

Chad Rau has signed a two-year deal with the Wild while RFA Kris Fredheim did not get a qualifying offer. Here is the team’s contract chart.

Minnesota will host North Dakota as part of Hockey Day Minnesota. The retiring Gophers AD had hoped Penn State would join the CCHA and avoid the conference shakeup the sport has experienced the past two summers.

The Mining Journal outlines how Northern Michigan administrators juggled their duties over the past 19 months.

Tuesday reading: Northeastern, ECAC, North Dakota TV contract

 A Northeastern coaching legend passed away recently.
The future of the ECAC is still murky according to this RPI fan blog.
Here is the Grand Forks Herald article with details on the new TV contract for North Dakota, worth $1 million over five years

From UND sports information …

The 2012-13 schedule was also announced last week.

Midco Sports Network  has announced that it will broadcast up to 45 live games, plus up to 40 weekly special shows featuring the University of North Dakota athletic program for the 2012-13 season.

“It is phenomenal to add such a great selection of UND games and special programming to our broadcast schedule,” said Midcontinent Communication’s Vice President of Business Solutions Mark Powell.  “We know the UND fans will be happy to get a chance to catch all these games which includes hockey, football, volleyball, and basketball on Midco Sports Net.”
Midco Sports Network will partner with the University of North Dakota to also include weekly shows featuring game analysis, interviews and reporting with several of the coaches of the University’s athletic program. This is a 5-year agreement with UND, Powell said.
“This agreement continues to give all of our teams tremendous exposure, and strengthens a great relationship between UND Athletics and Midco Sports Network,” said UND Director of Athletics Brian Faison. “Midco Sports’ commitment to improvements in production, the future conversion to high definition and the continued regional exposure is very important. Our fans will be thrilled with this partnership.”
Here is the hockey schedule. Note that the CC road games in Grand Forks are scheduled to be televised, giving local fans a chance at seeing the Tigers if arrangements can be made.
ALL GAMES LISTED WILL BE PLAYED IN IN GRAND FORKS.

Oct. 6 Canadian Exhibition UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Oct. 12 USA Exhibition UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Oct. 26 Anchorage UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Oct. 27 Anchorage UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Nov. 2 Boston University UND 7:30pm Hockey (men)
Nov. 3 Boston University UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Nov. 16 UMD UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Nov. 17 UMD UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Dec. 7 Denver University UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Dec. 8 Denver University UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Jan. 4 Holy Cross UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Jan. 5 Holy Cross UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Jan. 11 Colorado College UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Jan. 12 Colorado College UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Jan. 25 St. Cloud State UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Jan. 26 St. Cloud State UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Feb. 1 Wisconsin UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Feb. 2 Wisconsin UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Mar. 1 Bemidji State UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)
Mar. 2 Bemidji State UND 7:00 PM Hockey (men)
Mar. 15‐17 WCHA Playoffs UND 7:30 PM Hockey (men)*

*assuming UND gets home playoff ice.

Monday reading: LaLeggia, Schultz, APR scores, WMU, Mankato

This graphic shows the increased number of former collegians playing in the NHL.    Courtesy College Hockey, Inc.

About 60 future NHL Draft hopefuls were shown how going to college often leads to the NHL.

Let the Justin Schultz free agency derby begin. Pittsburgh looks ready to make a run at former UND star Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

DU’s Joey LaLeggia proves it never hurts to have friends in high places. His friendship with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the Oilers to selecting the 5-foot-8 defenseman in the fifth round Saturday. This could be a real nice pick for Edmonton who may have found a good two-way deal player.

Here are the Division I hockey APRs with Brown, Boston University, Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Notre Dame, Princeton and St. Lawrence all receiving perfect scores. CC was tied for 16th with RPI with a 994, well above the 982 average which was second in NCAA behind only men’s gymnastics.

The scores, which are based on eligibility and retention of scholarship players, include data from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

Here is a feature on a Western Michigan signee who the Red Wings hope develop into a physical player under Andy Murray’s tutelage. Michael McKee racked up 237 penalty minutes in 59 games last season.

Here is a look at MSU-Mankato coaches’ salaries.

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