Jun 28, 2012 / 1:42 pm
According to TSN, former Westside Warrior and University of Wisconsin defenceman, Justin Schultz, has narrowed down his list of potential NHL destinations to five.
Schultz, a native of West Kelowna, is a free agent after failing to sign an entry level contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
After meeting with his representatives in Toronto, TSN says Schultz has narrowed down potential destinations to Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Detroit.
Under NHL rules, Schultz is not allowed to sign a contract before July 1.
Schultz declared his intention to leave the University of Wisconsin after his junior year late last month.
Again, under league rules, the Ducks, who drafted Schultz in the second round of the 2008 draft, had 320 days to sign the highly sought after defenceman.
They were unable to do so making Schultz free to sign anywhere.
Schultz is a hot commodity after leading all NCAA defencemen in scoring the last two seasons. He was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker award in each of those years.
He has been described as the best defenceman in the world not currently playing in the NHL.
While there has been speculation he wants to sign with a team that gives him the best chance of playing significant minutes right away, it would appear Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto may have the inside track.
The Oilers are a young team with dynamic forwards in need of a serious upgrade on the blueline.
Ironically, the Oilers originally owned the pick where Schultz was taken, however, it was awarded to Anaheim as compensation after the Oilers signed restricted free agent Dustin Penner.
The Leafs have a spot available on their blueline after trading former Kelowna Rocket Luke Schenn to Philadelphia last weekend.
Toronto also has former Wisconsin Badger defenceman Jake Gardiner on their roster.
Not only were Gardiner and Schultz teammates at Wisconsin, they were also roommates.
Current Leafs GM Brian Burke was also General Manager in Anaheim back in 2008 when the Ducks drafted Schultz.
The Canucks may also have a top four spot available for someone of Schultz's skill set.
With Sami Salo unsigned, Schultz could slot in with Alex Edler on the second defensive pairing behind Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis.
On the morning he was drafted, Schultz admitted to being a life-long Canucks fan.
The Canucks drafted two spots ahead of the Ducks in the second round and took Saint John Sea Dog defenceman Jann Sauve.
Schultz admitted he was disappointed he wasn't taken then.
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