Former Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz spent the day with the Stanley Cup Thursday, taking hockey's holy grail on a tour of his hometown in Calgary, Alberta.
Schultz's day with the Stanley Cup came two months after the Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers in the Finals for their second championship in three years.
As part of the celebrations that come with winning hockey's most coveted prize, each player on the Stanley Cup winning team gets a 'private day' with the trophy, an unofficial tradition that dates back to the mid 1990s.
Schultz signed with the Kings last summer after having the final year of his previous contract bought out by the Capitals. The former first-round draft pick (27th overall, 2004) did not play with L.A. during the regular-season, instead appearing in 67 games with the AHL's Manchester Monarchs (2 goals, 13 points, plus-10 rating).
Injuries to veteran defensemen Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr created a void on the Kings' blueline in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks and Schultz got the call to fill in. The 28-year-old appeared in seven postseason games and practiced with the Kings throughout their playoff run.
Schultz does not meet the requirements to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, although the Kings can make a special request to include him (NHL rules state that a player must dress in 41 regular-season games and/or at least one game in the Stanley Cup Finals). He did, however, get his private day with the cup and he's expected to receive a Stanley Cup ring.
Perhaps most importantly, he also received some job security in late June when he signed a two-year, one-way deal with the Kings worth $1.7M.
An argument can be made that Schultz’s career peaked with the Capitals during the team’s Presidents’ Trophy winning season in 2009-10. Schultz had career-highs across the board with three goals and 23 points in 73 games. He also led the NHL with a plus-50 rating while playing primarily alongside Mike Green on Washington’s top defensive pairing.