Justin Schultz And The CBA Loop-Hole

Did The Justin Schultz Camp Circumvent The CBA? ….

The topic of my Blog today is about the signing of Justin Schultz.  He was a 2nd round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2008 and was signed by the Edmonton Oilers this past summer.  Now this is not actually about Schultz or the Oilers but the circumstances that led up to this unusual UFA signing.  I am absolutely baffled at how a player that has not ever stepped onto the ice gets to exercise a loophole in the CBA that makes him a UFA. 

This off season, University of Wisconsin junior defenceman Justin Schultz officially withdrew from school and did this because he believed that this would give the Anaheim Ducks only 30 days with his exclusive rights and he would become a free agent on July 1.

I’m not sure how the league interprets its various clauses and sub-clauses but this didn’t make sense to a lot of hockey fans including  myself.  I got confused reading some of the clauses of this document as it pertained to Schultz’s situation.  It was very subjective to say the least and especially if you don’t have a law degree.

With all of this being said, Justin Schultz didn’t do anything wrong according to the loop-hole he and his agent exploited in that current CBA.  Justin Schultz didn’t gain a financial bonus or advantage by using this loop-hole.  All that really happened here was he was able to control his own destiny and choose where he wanted to play.  His choice was the young “up and coming” Edmonton Oilers.  This is a perk that actual NHLPA members with contracts have to earn by waiting until their UFA period, approximately 8 or 9 years after their draft year.  I wonder how the NHL and the NHLPA  viewed this latest attempt at circumventing the CBA.

I guess the only other issue could be whether there was any tampering by the Oilers while he was still Anaheim Duck property? 

I can’t believe that the NHL wouldn’t protect it’s member teams better as it pertains to their CBA and the Entry Draft.  Who could blame Ducks GM Bob Murray if he was furious with these developments?

I don’t think a team should ever lose a player without being compensated until a player earns his official UFA status with years of service or age.  The Anaheim Ducks and The Phoenix Coyotes (Blake Wheeler) a few years back should have received compensation for losing drafted players and especially players in the first two rounds.   The NHL entry draft is there to help teams acquire players not lose them to ridiculous loopholes.  I’m not even sure if this clause was addressed in the new CBA that was just negotiated.   Many will argue that the CBA wasn’t flawed in this situation while many others will argue there were more than a few gray areas. I tend to agree with the latter. Once again, this is just my opinion but I’d like to hear what others think.

Mitch: Administrator WHT

Follow @WpgJetshocktalk

Further to this discussion:

This week a potential CBA disaster was adverted when the Colorado Avalanche matched the offer sheet the Calgary Flames presented to and signed by RFA Ryan O’Reilly.


As it turns out, the Flames interpretation of the CBA was not the same as the NHL’s and they would have had to put ROR on waivers because he played 2 games in the KHL in January.  There is no doubt that the Flames would have lost ROR to a waiver claim.  The Calgary Flames would have still been on the hook to pay the Av’s the RFA compensation of  a 1st and 3rd round draft pick.

Once again, this is where I have a problem with the CBA.  The NHL were paying a room full of lawyers during the lockout upwards of $1000 an hour and they write a document that a NHL GM, a player agent and the league interpret differently. Let me know your thoughts. Comments always welcomed.  


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