Defenseman Justin Schultz certainly created a lasting memory in Anaheim’s organization.
Without ever playing a game for the Ducks.
The long effort to sign the promising youngster that they drafted in 2008 turned out to be an exercise in futility. Barring some strange development, Schultz will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, taking advantage of a loophole in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.
He recently filed paperwork to leave the University of Wisconsin, according to reports. Schultz, by all accounts, is more than ready for the NHL. In fact, if all had gone as planned, the Ducks had been hoping to have him in the lineup this past season after his collegiate season concluded.
Bob Murray, the Ducks’ executive vice president and general manager, called the saga a “huge disappointment,” in an interview with NHL Live on the NHL Network.
“Yeah, that’s a sore spot,” Murray said Monday afternoon in the interview. “We’ve drafted fairly well the last few years.... We rebuilt and you have a young man like Justin [Schultz] coming along who gave us every indication he wanted to play for us.
“There’s a spot there for him on the right point on that blue line. You mention the weaknesses. Our power play has been horrible. And Justin is very good at that. So it’s a huge disappointment. You just can’t replace it. You counted on it.
”...There’s a loophole in the CBA. Some things you just don’t understand. You move on. That’s the way it is.”