Schultz was the best free agent

Schultz was the best free agent

Barry Melrose Rocks

Schultz was the best free agent

NASHVILLE, TN – JUNE 11: Justin Schultz #4 of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup trophy after defeating the Nashville Predators 2-0 in Game Six of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bridgestone Arena on June 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

You may know me as a mediocre (at best) blogger here or elsewhere, but my education was as a meteorologist, and I have done that professionally for years. With that you might surmise two things. 1) I am not attractive, otherwise I would be a TV meteorologist. 2) Numbers have absolutely no meaning to me. I understand that it’s ironic that I made a numbered list to illustrate this point.

That said, 538 is a website that knows a lot more about numbers than the average human being, and certainly more than yours truly. They are affiliated with ESPN, and for some reason were allowed to do a little bit of NHL analysis, and they sussed out some information as it pertains to this years free agent cycle.

You might be able to ascertain, at least anecdotally, that this has been a pretty slow offseason. There haven’t been many blockbuster trades, and there wasn’t the pursuit of any certified gold free agents.There are two primary factors to this. Many teams played close to the vest and cap consciously thanks to the introduction of the Vegas Golden Knights. Second, the FA class wasn’t very good.

If I am to understand their chart, Justin Schultz was the best free agent in this year’s class, surpassing Kevin Shattenkirk and Evgeni Kuznetsov by more than a goal above replacement, and nearly two in Kuznetsov’s case. The next two players on their list are over the age of 35. There just wasn’t that much out there.

Schultz is a good player, don’t get me wrong, but even on his own team, he rates as Top 5 at best. Further, defensemen rarely get the press that goal scorers or goaltenders do. There wasn’t a splash to be made on the free agent market. It was rendered even more dull when Schultz resigned with Pittsburgh anyways. I guess Darren Dreger can’t afford a coronary every July 1st.


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