Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Schultz Takes Fun over Cash Takes Pay Cut to Stay with Penguins

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Schultz Takes Fun over Cash Takes Pay Cut to Stay with Penguins

Article excerpt

Justin Schultz will get his day with the Stanley Cup July 28.

"I'll be getting it here in Kelowna, British Columbia," Schultz said by telephone Wednesday. "A bunch of stuff planned. It will be a busy day, but it will be fun with a big party at my house. It will be a blast."

Five months ago, fun of any type was a rarity for Schultz. Stuck on an Oilers team destined to miss the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season, he was dealt to the Penguins in exchange for a draft pick before the trade deadline.

With the Penguins, the 26-year-old defenseman appeared in 18 regular season games and scored eight points (one goal, seven assists). In the postseason, he settled into a third-pairing role with Ian Cole, playing in 15 games and recording four assists while helping the franchise win its fourth Stanley Cup.

"I love it there," said Schultz, who on Wednesday signed a one-year contract worth $1.4 million. "I love my teammates. I love the coaches. The city. Just a lot of fun to be there. I don't know if I had had that much fun ever playing hockey."

Schultz took a pay cut from his previous contract, which had a salary cap hit of $3.9 million.

"He made it clear that he wanted to return," general manager Jim Rutherford said. "He really liked playing in Pittsburgh. We made it clear right after the season we'd like him to come back, but we're a team that's right up against the [salary] cap. For a guy making [$3.9 million], he would have to take a fairly big step backward to take a big step forward."

According to General Fanager, a website that tracks salary information, the Penguins are $2,299,999 over the salary cap limit of $73 million. That figure includes right winger Pascal Dupuis, all but officially retired due to blood clots, and his salary cap hit of $3.75 million. The team cannot officially place him on long-term injured reserve until the first day of the regular season. …

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