A Look At Justin Schultz’s Performance in 2021: Hot Start With A Downward Trend


Throughout final low season, the Capitals and Basic Supervisor Brian MacLellan signed unrestricted free agent Justin Schultz to a two 12 months deal value a $4 million deal to solidify the appropriate aspect of the second defensive pairing. The deal was largely polarizing, resulting from Schultz’s struggles in the course of the 2019-20 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the place his main defensive accomplice was Jack Johnson.

General, Schultz is a recognized commodity. He’s going to supply offense and may quarterback an influence play unit successfully, however he’s not precisely often called a stalwart, defensively. This description may be very a lot what the Capitals noticed in Schultz on the ice in the course of the 2021 common season. The regarding piece right here is that Schultz began off the 12 months very effectively, trying rejuvenated from a down 12 months in Pittsburgh, and slowly regressed all through the season.

Recreation Rating

Recreation Rating is a metric that Dom Luszczyszyn (now with The Athletic) created to measure the efficiency of a participant in any given recreation. Right here’s the stats that Luszczyszyn makes use of in calculating recreation rating:

  • targets,
  • main assists,
  • secondary assists,
  • photographs on aim,
  • blocked photographs,
  • penalty differential,
  • faceoffs,
  • 5-on-5 corsi differential, and
  • 5-on-5 aim differential  (you may learn extra in regards to the Recreation Rating metric’s methodology right here).

Now, let’s check out Schultz’s recreation scores all through the 2021 season: (Click on to enlarge).

The dotted line in the course of the graphic above is the development line. You may see there’s a reasonable downward development from the beginning of the season to the tip of the season. General, you may see some actual highs, and a few very low lows. The latter half of the season is marred by inconsistent performances, and actually dragged down his total efficiency.


Schultz’s Corsi For proportion began off on the robust aspect, however after coming back from damage in mid-February, was largely inconsistent. This may be considerably anticipated based mostly on high quality of competitors, however there are fairly drastic game-by-game swings in effectiveness right here. Disregard the bottoming out of 0 CF% on April 18th; Schultz solely performed 2:45 of ice time in that tilt.

General, Schultz’s common CF% over the season was below 50% at 48.44%, which is regarding. You’d hope that your extra offensively-minded defensemen can generate extra shot makes an attempt when on the ice, however even with 58.5% of zone begins being within the offensive zone, Schultz didn’t handle to be on the ice for a majority share of shot makes an attempt throughout the whole common season.

Anticipated Objectives For Share

Right here’s one other space the place Schultz actually struggled. This shouldn’t be a lot of a shock contemplating he was sometimes on the ice for extra shot makes an attempt towards than generated. Schultz was taking a look at an upward development initially of the season, however was sometimes below the watermark of fifty% after coming back from his damage.

Right here’s one other have a look at Schultz’s 2021 season efficiency throughout five-on-five play, courtesy of JFreshHockey:

That is basically what Schultz is at this level. He’s a really robust offensive defenseman that struggles defensively. His main assists and factors per sixty minutes of play is within the elite echelon within the NHL.

His anticipated targets for and anticipated targets towards, alternatively…will not be. His high quality of competitors can be not very excessive, so it’s robust to see how a lot he struggles defensively right here.

Right here’s one other view of Schultz’s Price Adjusted Plus-Minus (RAPM)

General, this simply additional helps the truth that Schultz can produce offensively at robust charges, however struggles elsewhere. His anticipated targets for per sixty minutes dips beneath substitute stage, in addition to his possession charges, and anticipated targets towards per sixty minutes.

His targets for per sixty minutes and his anticipated targets for per sixty minutes being practically inverse of one another can be attention-grabbing, which may imply that his on-ice scoring charge was unsustainable, or simply luck.

Schultz was stable on the facility play, when he noticed minutes. Since he was sometimes on the second unit, he didn’t see a variety of time there (John Carlson noticed 165:40 of ice time on the facility play).


Justin Schultz is definitely an NHL stage defenseman, however struggles in his personal finish statistically, whereas producing offense at even power in elite firm. Attributable to his excessive offensive zone begin proportion, it’s clear that Peter Laviolette sees the identical factor, since he actually pays consideration to defensive acumen and tends to begin gamers who wrestle defensively within the offensive zone (as he ought to).

Schultz will probably be 31 years outdated when the 2021-2022 common season begins, so it’s unlikely that he’s going to enhance defensively. With the enlargement draft looming, and Schultz coming into a contract 12 months, it appears unlikely that the Capitals will select to guard him, particularly for the reason that Capitals prolonged Trevor van Riemsdyk earlier this season. With a $4 million cap hit, the Caps may certainly use that cash to enhance the roster. Will Schultz be chosen within the Growth Draft this summer time? Time will inform.

By Justin Trudel

About Justin Trudel

Justin is a lifelong Caps fan, with a few of his first reminiscences of the game watching the workforce within the USAir Enviornment and the 1998 Stanley Cup look. Now a resident of St. Augustine, FL, Justin watches the Caps from afar. Justin graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science from Towson College, and a Grasp’s of Science in Utilized Info Expertise from Towson College. Justin is presently a product supervisor at a non-profit in Jacksonville, FL. Justin enjoys geeking out over roster building and cap administration.


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