Justin Schultz may have only played 34 games in the AHL during this season’s NHL lockout, but his dominance in that short time there has earned him yet another honor. Schultz was named to both the All-Rookie and First-Team All-Star teams early in the week, and on Wednesday he made history as the only rookie in league history to win the Eddie Shore Award, given to the AHL’s outstanding defenseman each season.
While it may seem weird at first that the award went to a player who spent less than half the season in the league, Schultz still leads all AHL defenseman in goals despite being with the Edmonton Oilers since late January. He scored 18 goals and had 48 points for the Oklahoma City Barons, and could have likely shattered every league record for rookie defenseman scoring had the work stoppage continued. Since joining the Oilers, Schultz has six goals and 21 points in 45 games. While he hasn’t been able to score regularly at the NHL level quite yet and has faded from the forefront of the Calder Trophy discussion, he now has quite a collection of AHL hardware to help him remember his first professional season by.
The award is named in honor of Shore, a defenseman who is a member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the AHL Hall of Fame. Last season saw Mark Barberio of the Norfolk Admirals take home the award as an AHL sophomore. He made his NHL debut this season, appearing in two games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.