Justin Schultz Wins Eddie Shore Award as AHL's Top Defenseman

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Former Badger Justin Schultz becomes the first rookie in 55 years to be named the AHL's Top Defenseman.

The American Hockey League announced Wednesday that Justin Schultz of the Oklahoma City Barons has been named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL's outstanding defenseman for the 2012-13 season. The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league's 30 cities.

Schultz is the first rookie in the 55-year history of the Eddie Shore Award to win the honor.

"I was playing with (Jordan Eberle), (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and those guys, so I give them a lot of credit for (the award)," Schultz said.

In just 34 games for the Barons, Schultz totaled 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points and amassed a plus-8 rating, seven power-play goals, two shorthanded goals and three game-winners. By the time he played his last game for the Barons on Jan. 5, Schultz was on pace to shatter the single-season AHL records for goals (20), assists (47) and points (66) by a rookie defenseman. More than three months after his recall to the National Hockey League, Schultz still leads all AHL defensemen in goals, points, power-play goals (tied), shorthanded goals (tied), power-play points (tied) and shooting percentage.

This marks the third postseason award Schultz has earned. He was named to the All-Rookie Team and was named a First Team AHL All Star last week. He also earned CCM/AHL Player of the Month honors for October and CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month honors for November.

Schultz, 22, signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers on July 1, 2012, after three seasons at Wisconsin, where he was an All-American and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in both 2010-11 and 2011-12. A native of West Kelowna, B.C., Schultz has tallied 21 points in 42 National Hockey League games with Edmonton this season.

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