Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign Justin Schultz to three-year deal

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: Ian Cole /

The Pittsburgh Penguins keep a key piece to the blueline with the re-signing of Justin Schultz

Justin Schultz turned a career year into a big payday with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The club announced on Saturday afternoon that it re-signed the defenseman to a three-year deal worth $16.5 million. The deal carries an average annual value of $5.5 million.

Schultz was a key component in the Penguins’ march to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. With an injury to star defenseman Kris Letang, Schultz stepped up to carry the offensive load on the back end. He registered 19 goals and 51 points in 78 regular season game. Both ranked as career highs for the 26-year-old blueliner. His plus-27 ranked sixth best among defenseman.

His strong play continued into the postseason, where he posted 13 points in 21 games.

After being traded by the Edmonton Oilers to Pittsburgh during the 2016 season, Schultz re-signed with the Penguins last offseason. Coming off an 18-point season with Edmonton and Pittsburgh, Schultz bet on himself, signing a one-year deal to remain with the Penguins.

The gamble paid off as Schultz will make $4.1 million more this upcoming season.

There was no bidding war for Schultz, who missed the unrestricted free agent cut off by one week. Rather than wait around for a potential offer sheet from a rival club, the Penguins went ahead and took care of business. The team lost center Nick Bonino (NSH) and defensemen Trevor Daley (DET) and Ron Hainsey (TOR) earlier on Saturday, giving them a bit of extra cash.

Next: Nashville Signs Nick Bonino

Along with Schultz, the club signed free agent Matt Hunwick to a three-year deal.

Schultz will slide back into his role as the #2 defenseman behind a healthy Kris Letang, but proving himself as a #1 option last season should give him more confidence heading into this year. Those two Stanley Cup rings don’t hurt either.