The Justin Schultz saga is finally over. The telephone lines closed and, in what would be best described as a reality show vote off, the young blueliner decided to sign with the Edmonton Oilers, leaving Leafs Nation and several other fanbases wondering what could have been.
This writer refuses to believe one young free agent defenseman would turn the fortunes of any franchise, but itâ€™s hard to argue we wouldnâ€™t be a deeper team with him in the mix. Did he really do that much to deserve the fanfare and media coverage he got? No, but I guess that is just the reality of a not so deep UFA pool coupled with the media doing their best to exploit the situation. Who knew…
In the end, we shouldn’t be judging the kid for doing what he feels is best for his career and taking his sweet time to do it.
As far as the Leafs are concerned, wouldnâ€™t it be nice if the we were more of a â€œgo toâ€ team for players? Alas, weâ€™re not at that point yet. But this wasnâ€™t about that. Our organization stockpiled defensemen and while itâ€™s true that the Gardiner connection was indeed strong, it isnâ€™t quite enough to sway a player who’s looking at what seems to be a better fit for him personally.
Take this for what it’s worth, Damien Cox on the Leafs and Schultz (twitter):
TOR tried hard on Schultz. Made a conditional deal last weekend to send 2nd rd pick to ANA for 24 hrs OF exclusive negotiating rights.
Anyway, we will be eagerly awaiting tomorrowâ€™s D-day although, if youâ€™re inclined to believe our GM, tomorrow could and should very well be a Z-day, a day with much less importance for our franchise than its hype would suggest.
So, hereâ€™s to no overpaid fourth liners, no ludicrous contracts. Letâ€™s hope the Leafs keep tomorrow quiet and do their business when the dust settles.