The Key Stat: 0.11/0.05. Those numbers would be the goals per 60 minutes and goals per game for Justin Schultz in 2021-2022, the lowest of his career in each category. And it isn’t as if what he did score mattered much; the Caps were 2-2-0 in the four games in which he had goals.
The Good: Schultz was a helpful helper. He had 19 assists. It was not among the best totals of his career (he did have a 39-assist season with Pittsburgh in 2016-2017), but the Caps did quite well when he was logging assists, going 13-2-1. His 0.81 assists per 60 minutes was the third best of his career, and his 0.49 primary assists were second-best of his career.
The Bad: Take your pick…minus-15, lapping the field of Caps defensemen; Dennis Cholowski was next worst at minus-4. Poor team performance when he had heavier ice time loads, 2-6-1 when he skated at least 19 minutes. Low shooting percentage, his 4.4 percent being fourth-lowest of his ten-year career and fifth of six Caps defensemen to dress for at least 20 games. And this while recording his lowest ice time per game of his career (16:55). Or, you can peruse the charts above, which do not paint a pretty picture.
The Video: One of Schultz’s four goals on the season was the game-winner on opening night against the Rangers:
The Discussion: Justin Schultz has a similar profile to that of John Carlson, primarily an offensive defenseman who occasionally has issues in his own end of the ice. It was not a vintage season for Schultz, which raises a few questions. Is there room on the roster for a “Carlson-lite?” Can the team accommodate a raise for his services? Would he be good insurance on the blue line if the prospects making their way up from Hershey cannot adequately fill their roles? And finally, what would it take for you to give Schultz a 10 next season?
The Vote: Rate Justin Schultz below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Justin Schultz’s 2021-22 season?