Justin Schultz received welcome messages from former teammates Carl Hagelin and Brenden Dillon after he signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Capitals on Friday, the defenseman said in a Zoom press conference with reporters Tuesday.
“Hags, he reached out right away to me actually [and] congratulated me,” Schultz said. “I know Brenden Dillon a little bit, he’s close to me in Vancouver. We played a World Championships together in Sweden. But yeah, they’ve all said [it’s] just a great group of guys, great team, they’re excited for me and they know I’ll love it there and fit right in.”
Schultz and Hagelin were both acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins midway through the 2015-16 season, playing integral roles down the stretch for the eventual Stanley Cup winners. The pair then spent two and a half more seasons together before Hagelin was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings.
As for Dillon, Schultz has never shared an NHL locker room with him before. He did, however, play alongside him representing Canada in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. Both defensemen were just 22 years old at the time, helping Canada make it past the group stage before falling to eventual champion Sweden in the quarterfinals.
Now, all three players are set to play together in Washington as the Capitals look to put together a stronger finish next season than their first-round exit in August.