In part two of our look at impending UFAs, we are reviewing our next batch of players who could potentially put up some pretty good numbers this season. They could potentially be motivated to do more than they otherwise might if their contracts weren’t on the line.
You can read part one here.
I think we can only expect Schultz to play about 60 games next season and anything more is just gravy. He has always struggled defensively overall but has offset that with the ability to be a PP quarterback. Going into his contract year, he will need to stay healthy and put up at least 0.50 PTS/G in order to sign for similar money to what he makes now. He has a modified no-trade clause which allows him to submit 10 teams he will not be traded to.
Pittsburgh is in a tough situation, because their two top PP defencemen are both a little injury prone and both shoot right. The Penguins don’t have another player like Schultz other than Kris Letang, on their roster or in their system, so I would assume they would try to re-sign Schultz for less than his current contract. I would put Schultz at five or six goals and 25-35 assists over 60 games for next year.
Krug is going to get paid big money before or on July 1st, 2020. Even though he missed 18 games last season due to injury, he still managed 53 points (a 68-point pace over 82 games) with a career high of 30 on the PP. Boston had the 3rd overall PP in the NHL in 2018-2019, and it would make sense that as long as Krug is healthy he will slot in ahead of Charlie McAvoy on the top unit.
Krug is a heavily sheltered defenceman who has averaged above 65 percent over the past two seasons in offensive zone starts. Krug shines in the playoffs, with 11 goals and 35 assists in 62 career games, and 27 of those points on the PP. I think it is a no-brainer for Boston to re-sign him as he has been a very consistent point-producer over his whole career, never getting less than 39 points. I have more faith in Krug than McAvoy when it comes to producing on the PP. I would peg Krug for 8-10 goals and 45-50 assists next year.
Lehner has signed three one-year deals in a row, and his latest with Chicago is the highest salary he has had yet at $5 million AAV. It’s a bit of a curious signing in Chicago as they already have incumbent starter Corey Crawford (on an expiring contract in 2020) and one would have to think this will be a 1A and 1B situation for either goalie. The first thing Lehner will miss is being on a team coached by Barry Trotz; it will be highly unlikely Lehner will duplicate or better his save percentag