FREE AGENT FRIDAZE
It's been a few weeks since we last checked in on the status of the Los Angeles Kings here at The Royal Half… and boy have things changed!
— ♛ LetsGoKings ♛ (@LetsGoKings) July 5, 2013
I guess the repeal of DOMA did allow everyone to get married!
Two weeks ago backup goalie, Jon Bernier, was shipped off to Toronto in exchange for winger Matt Frattin, goaltender Ben Scrivens, a 2nd Round draft pick and $500,000 cold hard cash (*actually not cash but cap space*). Initially, a lot of fans thought that Matt Frattin was the key to this deal for the LA Kings, especially with his incredible success in the newest advanced stat, GTT. (Gardening Tool Throwing)
FYI, that is your LA Kings starting 3rd Line Left Winger in the middle.
After the intial shock of the Jon Bernier trade had settled… it was easy to see what the real gem in the deal was.
Stranded in Halifax.. https://t.co/WtJxoscuKm
— Ben Scrivens (@scrivens_30) July 5, 2013
That's right, LA Kings fans… Ben Scrivens has made the possible loss of Dustin Penner all the more bearable… because of his awesome Twitter Account. And when Ben Scrivens isn't busy tweeting about marching in the Toronto Pride Parade… he's busy taking awesome Instagram photos with his wife.
It's a sign- we're moving to LA! #NoPunIntended @scrivens_30 by @jennyscrivens
This is the only World War Z that I care about.
And that leaves us with this past Friday… AKA Free Agent Frenzy… AKA White People Spending Crazy Money.
Trust me, Columbus…
there is nothing you are going to like about Nathan Horton's contract in a few years.
So what was the biggest move the LA Kings pulled off during Free Agent Frenzy Friday?
They lost The Piece.
I loved Rob Scuderi as a Los Angeles King. In fact, his arrival in LA should be viewed as the beginning of the turning points for this franchise as just 3 years later they would win the Stanley Cup. And the worst part about it all is that Rob Scuderi was just as awesome on his way out… as he was on his way in.
“I think to me it was just the geography of the equation, and at this stage of my career I’d like to be a little closer to my home and to my parents and
in-laws. It came down as a family decision.”
"I thought L.A. tabled a very fair offer, and I wasn’t going to leave Los Angeles to play for another team in the Western Conference. So it had to be an east coast team…"
Well, even though Rob Scuderi will be sorely missed… at least the LA Kings already have plenty of defensemen on their roster to help make up for the loss of WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!?
Hey… I'm Jeff.
The LA Kings have signed 6' 6", 230 pound, 27 year-old defenseman, Jeff Schultz, to a one-year contract for $700,000. And I think I spoke for LA Kings fans everywhere when I said:
WHO THE HELL IS JEFF SCHULTZ?
— The Royal Half (@theroyalhalf) July 5, 2013
So, I decided to ask the only people who are harder to find than longtime LA Kings fans…. Washington Capitals Fans!
Aside from Alexander Semin, there may not have been a more polarizing player on the Washington roster over the last four years than Jeff Schultz. Some fans thought he was terrible, others thought he was stable and usable. After his breakout season in 2009-2010 which saw him win the NHL's plus-minus award playing solid defense on a regular pairing with Mike Green, Schultz has gone downhill very fast and fell out of favor with Adam Oates this season – he didn't play in a game after March 31 and saw limited action when he did play.
At his best, Schultz is a stay-at-home defenseman who bases his game on positioning and is an above-average no. 6 at the NHL level. He's not very physical and he lacks speed, but when he is playing well, he can complement an offensive defenseman with his defensive style admirably. At his worst, Schultz is barely usable – and that's what we saw over the last season as a half as John Erskine eventually took his spot, largely because of his willingness to be physical. With the Kings, you can probably expect him to be better, as he will have more talent around him, but he won't be anything special.
Jeff Schultz. The guy who flew under the radar yet was noticed by many Capitals fans as the one who let a defensive system go to waste while imitating a construction cone on and off the ice.
Drafted in the 2004 Entry Draft, Schultz would put on a show with the Calgary Hitmen creating excitement for his NHL debut in a few years. Racking up 104 points from the time of draft to AHL debut, George McPhee looked at his peers and snapped the suspenders yet again for a successful pick. Little did he know, the following years would yield an unproductive effort once he would break into the NHL with the Washington Capitals in 2006. He had became a utility guy but without the tools to truly gel with a defensive pairing.
Subsequently, he would see his time on the ice dwindle. Through his tenure in Washington, he saw his ATOI max out at close to 20 mins and severely drop the past two season which would hold at the 14:30 minute per game mark. The proof was in the pudding when Schultz would be keeping the media company at Verizon Center while being benched during the post-season two years in a row. Via Kevin Klein at Japers Rink, Schultz became a victim to an ever-changing defensive strategy with the Capitals hiring coaches on coaches.
Fans of the Capitals didn't see it as this though. Schultz was just some tall guy with goofy ears and performed an ever-constant and rare post-game interview. Schultz, although the Caps fans whipping boy, held a quiet life full of community service, including taking part in Movember. He would not blame anyone in interviews with the media, or outwardly talk negatively about the Capitals short comings. Great guy off the ice, but on ice was to be less than desired. Good luck to him in the city of Angels.
Also make sure you check out Japers' Rink for a couple of great articles on Jeff Schultz. And after a little bit of my own research… I've come to discover that Jeff Schultz might become a Jay Bouwmeester-type player for this team…
… in the sense that every photo of him is non-threatening.
And via Russian Machine Never Breaks (seriously, how many good Washington Capitals blogs are there?)… probably the greatest Jeff Schultz story ever:
"I saw this on eBay and I just had to have it. Capitals Sport & Decor, a memorabilia shop at Dulles Town Center, sometimes hosts signings with Washington Capitals players. They put up some of their extra signed merchandise up on eBay, and that’s where I unearthed this gem. It’s a signed 16 x 20 photo of Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz checking Sidney Crosby down to the ice. Schultz’s signature is at bottom. To the left is an inscription that reads, “Hows the Wood Sid!”
"How's The Wood Sid?" might just become The Royal Half catch-phrase for the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings season.