The Calgary Hitmen managed to build their base of blueliners around home grown Jeff Schultz, their 2003-04 Defenseman of the Year. Schultz, who was originally selected in the second round of the 2002 Bantam Draft, was in his second full season with the Calgary Hitmen in 2003-04.
Schultz was selected to represent the Calgary Hitmen in the CHL Top Prospects game, an honour he shared with the likes of Andrew Ladd, Andy Rogers and Brett Carson. The Top Prospects Game wasn’t Schultz’s only accolade, however, as he was selected to represent Team Canada in the World Under-18 Championships.
2005-06: After a strong performance at the Caps’ training camp last fall, Schultz was reassigned to the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) for the remainder of the 2005-06 season. Coming off of two solid seasons in Calgary, Schultz displayed remarkable improvement, picking up his scoring in the second half of the year finishing the season ranked 14th in the WHL in scoring by a defenseman. He registered seven goals and 33 assists in 68 games last season and rebounded from his woeful –7 rating in 2004-05 by finishing the 2005-06 campaign at +20.
2006-07: In 2006-07 Schultz split his time between the Bears and the Capitals (44 games with Hershey, 38 games with Washington). Despite being known as an offensive defenseman, Schultz did not put up big numbers for either of his teams, netting only 12 points with the Bears, and three with the Capitals. Yet because Schultz has the reputation of getting too involved offensively, oftentimes leading to positional breakdowns and missing defensive assignments, it is likely he is being trained to be sound defensively first, therefore not pitching in offensively to his potential. In the playoffs, he is scoreless in eight games and is +1.
David Rathbun & Ryan Bright contributed to this profile
Standing at 6’6, Schultz becomes even more imposing when he laces up the skates. Schultz quarterbacked what is arguably the largest junior defense in recent memory, and provided an offensive spark from the blueline. The awareness that Schultz possesses in the offensive end in junior was above average for a defenseman, and his ability to distribute the puck from the point, excellent. At the NHL level, however, he does not project as an offensive defenseman.
A facet of Schultz’s game that could use improvement is his skating. He has a very long stride, but at times looks uncoordinated out on the ice, and almost clumsy.