Seattle Kraken Sign Justin Schultz to 2-Year Deal

The Seattle Kraken have started to address their defense for the 2022-23 season by signing free agent defenceman Justin Schultz to a 2-year deal worth a little over $3 million as reported by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman.

A veteran of 10 seasons in the NHL, Schultz was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Edmonton Oilers in 2012, where he put up eight goals and 27 points in his rookie season. Since then, he has played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and most recently the Washington Capitals, where he has spent his last two campaigns. Going into his 11th season, he has 57 goals and 264 points in 602 career games.

Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Tracker

Schultz’s Fit with the Kraken

While Schultz won’t necessarily help with their defensive woes, he will definitely add some mobility to the Kraken’s backend as he’s normally known as an offensive defenceman. Having said that, he has developed into a pretty good two-way player as he has aged, especially in the department of shot-blocking. Over the course of his career, he has 50 or more blocks in seven of his ten seasons in the league. He also got into the Norris Trophy conversation in 2016-17 when he put up a career-high 12 goals and 51 points in 78 games the year after he got traded there by the Oilers.

Justin Schultz Washington Capitals
Justin Schultz, Washington Capitals (Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images)

Being a right-handed defenceman, Schultz most likely will slot in on the third pairing behind Jamie Oleksiak, Vince Dunn, Adam Larsson and Carson Soucy, who currently make up the top four. Unless the rumors about Dunn getting traded are true, he will take on a similar role as he did with the Capitals. He might even get some power play time on the second unit depending on how head coach Dave Hakstol wants to deploy him.

What’s Next for the Kraken?

After landing the expected 2022 first-overall pick in Shane Wright at fourth overall, general manager Ron Francis has shifted his focus to free agency. He has a ton of cap space to work with, so I would expect signing Schultz will not be the first move he makes on this day or in the weeks before the regular season starts in October. With Matty Beniers potentially taking on a bigger role in 2022-23 and Wright in the fold now as well, he could get busy not only in the free agency market but in the trade market too. I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from the Kraken as the offseason moves along.