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Capitals breakdown: Jeff Schultz

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Capitals breakdown: Jeff Schultz

CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Jeff Schultz
Jeff SchultzPosition: Defense
Age: 26
HtWt: 6-6, 230
Games: 54
Goals: 1
Assists: 5
Points: 6
Penalty Minutes: 12
Plus-Minus: Minus-2
Average Ice Time: 15:17
Contract Status: 2 years remaining on 11 million contract 2.75 million cap hit in 2012-13

Strengths: For a guy taken with the 27th overall pick of the 2004 NHL draft, Schultz was reduced to a part-time player in 2011-12, playing just 54 games, his lowest total since his rookie year. Schultz proved two years ago that he could be an effective defense partner for Mike Green, finishing with an NHL-best plus- 50 rating, but saw those totals and his ice time fall under Dale Hunter. Schultz is still big enough and strong enough to be a steady stay-at-home defenseman and will benefit from a coaching change.

Weaknesses: Schultz has never been the quickest or most physical defenseman and assistant coach Jim Johnson worked hard with him to improve both areas of his game. If Schultz can play a little meaner in front of his own net he still has a chance to be a shut-down defender. But at 26 he needs to do it on a regular basis if he wants to stay in the league after his contract expires.

Memorable Moment on the ice: It wasnt exactly a shining moment, but Schultz scored his only goal of the season on Feb. 13 in a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks that was best remembered for goaltender Braden Holtbys surprise start over Michal Neuvirth. Roman Hamrlik and Dmitry Orlov also scored for the Capitals, the only time three Caps defensemen lit the lamp in the same game.

Memorable Moment off the ice: On Jan. 11, with Mike Green sidelined by an abdominal injury, the Capitals recalled defenseman Tomas Kundratek from the Hershey Bears and made Schultz a healthy scratch for the 12th time in 14 games. Schultz thought it was a matter of time before the club moved him.I have a lot of great friends here, he said. I dont want to be put in a situation where (a trade) comes up, but I want to play. Thats kind of the bottom line. Hopefully, I get in the lineup here or something works itself out. Nothing ever really worked itself out and Schultz found himself in and out of the lineup all season.

2012-13 Expectations: At 26, Schultz needs to re-establish himself as a reliable shut-down defenseman capable of logging big minutes. Whether that comes as a member of the Capitals or he needs a change of scenery remains to be seen, but at 2.75 million it will be difficult for the Caps to move Schultz this summer.

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Tom Wilson immediately moves back onto the top line for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota

Tom Wilson immediately moves back onto the top line for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota

After a neutral arbitrator reduced Tom Wilson’s suspension on Tuesday, head coach Todd Reirden is wasting no time getting him back into the lineup. Wilson will make his season debut against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday  (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Washington) and he will play on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

“That's where he's most comfortable,” Reirden said after the team’s morning skate Tuesday.

“They had some preseason time together and I thought it was the right move to do tonight. I liked some of the things that we saw from some of the adjustments we made last game, but I think this will allow Tom to have the most success after an extended period of time out of game action.”

With Wilson’s return the Caps will have their full offensive lineup for the first time this season. After reuniting Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on the top line for Sunday’s game, Reirden has elected to change things again go with the same top nine that worked so effectively during the team’s playoff run last season, per Isabelle Khurshudyan.

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson – Travis Boyd – Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov – John Carlson
Michal Kempny – Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos – Madison Bowey

Pheonix Copley to start.

The addition of Wilson dramatically changes the team’s lineup and chemistry. Not only does it make the lineup deeper, he also obviously adds a major physical element.

“He's such a big part of our team, of the way we play, of the culture on and off the ice that we've been missing something,” Oshie said. “It's been 43 so it's great to have him back.”

While the Caps are getting their top-line winger back, the team is also entering the game well aware that it may take time for him to get up to game speed.

“For him, we have to have realistic expectations that he's going to have a little bit of a learning curve here in terms of getting back up to speed and getting back up to the pace of play which is something that's at an all-time high this year,” Reirden said.

With that in mind, do not be surprised to see the Caps shuffle their offensive lines throughout the night rather than lean on Wilson to play 18+ minutes in his first game back, especially if the Caps get into penalty trouble and Wilson plays on the penalty kill.

While Wilson did travel with the team in the event that his suspension would be reduced and he would be eligible to play, neither he nor the team received any advanced notice that he would be available.

“I wake up this morning and at 8:30 I get news I've got to get ready to play,” Wilson said.

“It was definitely a unique experience, one that you don't ever want to go through, a bit eye-opening. At the end of the day, there's a game today, I've got to focus on that and it's a big road trip so I've got to focus on this team getting back on track and do whatever I can to help out.”

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TJ Oshie celebrates Tom Wilson's return with incredible 'Free Willy 3' poster

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USA Today Sports

TJ Oshie celebrates Tom Wilson's return with incredible 'Free Willy 3' poster

After 16 games and an up and down start to 2018, the Washington Capitals can finally welcome their stud right winger Tom Wilson back to the lineup. 

On Tuesday, Wilson's 20-game suspension was reduced to 14 thanks to a neutral arbitrator. 

TJ Oshie apparently couldn't contain his excitement as he took to Twitter sharing a hilarious poster to celebrate. 

This wasn't the first time Wilson's fellow right winger posted something comical regarding Wilson's suspension. In fact, Tuesday's celebratory tweet completed the trilogy. 

Remember the initial Free Willy poster that kicked things off in October 2017? 

Or what about the sequel from last May? 

The Capitals travel to Minnesota for an 8 p.m. puck drop Tuesday night and although his playing status is unconfirmed, all signs point towards it being likely the 24-year-old will be in the lineup. 

 

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