Free agent defenseman Justin Schultz, previously spending the past two seasons with the Washington Capitals, has agreed to a two-year deal with the Seattle Kraken with an average annual value of $3 million, announced on Wednesday by the Kraken.
The move will address a need on the Kraken blueline for a right shot defenseman. Schultz, 32, has 50 points over the last two seasons with the Capitals, has twice cracked double digits in goal scoring from the blue line, and helped the Pittsburgh Penguins capture back-to-back Stanley Cup titles from 2015-17.
"We needed a right shot guy who can add to the power play, and Schultz is a guy we feel who can do that," said general manager Ron Francis.
Schultz is a 6-foot-2 blueliner with 264 points in 602 career NHL games with Washington, Pittsburgh, and the Edmonton Oilers. He recovered from three straight injury riddled seasons to post 23 points in 74 games last season with the Capitals, also adding three points in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.
That resume now joins a blueline corps including Vince Dunn, Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak, and Carson Soucy that, while struggling to record wins during an expansion season, still allowed only 28.9 shots per game, fourth lowest in the NHL.
While his presence fills a need for blueline depth, his shot is a noticeable weapon that has potential to fortify a Kraken power play that struggled last season. While his production has tailed off over the last four seasons while managing injuries, Schultz was typically used as a second power play option behind point men Kris Letang in Pittsburgh and John Carlson in Washington.
"I remember talking to people in Pittsburgh when he was there, and they were saying he was really good in that role, and the way things fell, he didn't get that opportunity," said Francis.
"We're excited and he'll have opportunities to be a solid, puck-moving D."
Schultz has 214 power play points in his ten year NHL career and recorded a career-high 51 points and 12 goals in 78 games with the Penguins in 2016-17.