Last summer, Nathan was raked over the coals when he chose Nick Schultz as one of the faces for the Wild's "Mount Puckmore." At that point, and at this point, it is unclear who else should have been on there. Schultz leads the franchise in games played, he is one of a very small number of players to not miss extended time with injury, and is a rock on the blue line.
His contract is an albatross. We get it. At the same time, there is not a dang thing anyone can do about it. He is one of the best shut down defensemen in the NHL, so maybe that commands a contract bigger than most. Who knows? What is clear is the Wild would be an ever hotter mess without him than they are with him.
Is Nick Schultz going to lead the NHL in scoring? Not likely. Is he going to win the Norris trophy? Until the requirement to be an offensive d-man, be 40 years old and play for Detroit is dropped, absolutely not. Will he get a passing grade from Hockey Wilderness, that has much better odds.
#55 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild
Aug 25, 1982
|2010 - Nick Schultz||74||3||14||17||-4||38||0||0||0||46|
JS- GRADE: B+ Schultzie continues to be a reliable d-man, as he has been all his career. He's one of the most consistent players in the WORLD. Well, maybe not, but he's still quite consistent. 17 points, -4, pretty decent for a guy like Schultz, in the situation he was in. While he's not the most noticeable guy on the ice, that's actually a good thing, because Schultz plays some nearly mistake-free hockey. He's also always been a good leader on the ice. How do you not like this guy, really?
Elise- GRADE: B I didn't notice Schultz very much. Which usually means he's doing his job.
Dan- GRADE: B As always, he plays a silent, safe game. He eats tons of minutes and plays against opposing lines. Doesn't give the big hit, doesn't do the flashy offensive, doesn't do the highlight block, but he plays the minutes and that is that.
Bryan- GRADE: B Schultz is always an interesting case study. No one seems to like his contract, but no one wants to be without the guy. A rock on the blueline, Schultz continues to be the one match-up defenseman the Wild actually have. He is largely invisible, which is the best compliment you can give a defensive defenseman. He makes few mistakes, and is often the one compensating for the mistakes of others. While I think his contract may be a bit out of line, this would be a much uglier team without his efforts, so perhaps he is worth it.
Nathan- GRADE: B. When you don't notice Nick Schultz, that means he's doing exactly what he needs to do and doing it well. 90% of the season, he was doing exactly that. He went unnoticed. When you do notice Schultz, that means he made a gaffe and something bad resulted. The -4 shows that. However, I'll take a -4 from the top defensive defenseman on a bad offensive team. Add in the 17 points (which is about what I'd expect from him) and it was an above average season for an above average defenseman. Now, if only his contract was about $1.25M less per year.
Cumulative GPA: 3.0 B
Nick Schultz is like everyone's younger brother. He's one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he is dedicated to his craft, and his team, and he is a part of the community. He has an "aw shucks" kind of look to him, and yet he is a defensive stalwart.
We have read a couple of times that Schultz was almost traded. While the cap relief would be nice, it is difficult to imagine this team without him.