***UPDATE: Schultz agreed to terms with Edmonton.
In the end, the Wisconsin connection just wasn’t enough.
New York made it to the final six in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, but in the end the 21-year-old Badgers defenseman chose to play elsewhere. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Schultz won’t be joining the Rangers, meaning he’ll end up with Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, or Edmonton.
The Rangers made their pitch to Schultz on Thursday, during which time Coach John Tortorella reportedly attempted to point out the team’s recent track record with college stars.
However, all week it was rumored that Schultz preferred to play closer to his Kelowna home in Western Canada.
The allure of joining former teammates Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan carried the Rangers deep into the process, but Schultz simply had other priorities.
There’s no one to blame here. GM Glen Sather did all he could to bring Schultz on board, but he didn’t have the ability to outbid other teams financially, so Schultz’s decision really came down to personal preference.
Rumors have been swirling all morning about Schultz and the potential domino effect his signing could initiate, perhaps culminating with a trade for Rick Nash. But with Schultz now out of the picture, it’s still a complete mystery how the next 24 hours will play out for the Blueshirts.