It had been long rumored that the Kraken would be after an offensive defenseman who could help them on their powerplay and help them in transition. Schultz is exactly that, having made his career around his offensive abilities since breaking into the league in 2012-13. Schultz’s offensive production isn’t what it once was, with his 23 points in 74 games representing a sharp decline from his 27 points in 46 games last season.
But even with that in mind, one has to remember that the kind of profile Schultz brings isn’t exactly easily found on the market. Defense-first, crease-clearing defensemen are more common on the open market than ones with fifty-point seasons on their resumes, so Schultz is perhaps the most suitable option for the Kraken if they did not want to dip into the deep end of the market and acquire a player like John Klingberg.
The biggest risk with this signing, though, is in Schultz’s health. Schultz has struggled to play consistently in recent years, and has not been able to cross even the 70 games played mark since 2016-17. At a $3MM price tag, the Kraken will not only need Schultz to be productive, they’ll also need him to be healthy. That’s a major risk to take for a player who just turned 32 years old. Kraken GM Ron Francis entered this offseason with a clear mandate: improve the Kraken offensively. Schultz is his first choice in that quest, and it’s a big swing. Time will tell if it works out.