On the same day that the Edmonton Oilers named Ralph Krueger as the team's new head coach, the team hopes to get closer to landing prized unrestricted free agent defenceman Justin Schultz.
The University of Wisconsin junior wrapped up meetings with his agents in Toronto on Wednesday and, over the next two days, will meet with a small group of teams before making his decision.
The Oilers and Vancouver Canucks are among a short list of teams that will meet with Schultz later this week.
Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round in 2008, Schultz became an unrestricted free agent June 24th following the NHL Entry Draft after he failed to come to a contract agreement with the Ducks.
The 22-year-old from West Kelowna, BC withdrew from school following the Badgers 2011-12 season. He led all NCAA defenceman with 16 goals and 44 points and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award for the second straight season.
Coming off the selection of first overall pick Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting, the Oilers are looking to add to a young defensive core.
Beyond the top-four of Ryan Whitney, Jeff Petry, Ladislav Smid and Nick Schultz, there is the potential for Schultz to find a home on the Oilers blueline to start next season. Besides the Oilers, Schultz has been linked with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have one of Schultz's former teammates Jake Gardiner on the roster.
The New York Rangers and Calgary Flames are among the other teams rumoured to be in the running for the 6'2, 185-pound blueliner.
The Detroit Red Wings are also expected to make a push to sign Schultz after losing defencemen Nicklas Lidstom and Brad Stuart in the offseason. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland confirmed to the Detroit News that his team will be in the running. "We've contacted his agents to express an interest in signing him," Holland said.
Schultz is eligible for a two-year deal for the entry-level maximum salary. This includes a $925,000 base salary, including $92,500 signing bonus plus $2.85m in performance bonuses for a cap hit $3.775m, according to CapGeek.com