Pittsburgh Penguins Justin Schultz out long term with leg injury

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Justin Schultz #4 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates with te puck against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on April 13, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins Justin Schultz Out Four Months

Pittsburgh Penguins  Justin Schultz suffered a nasty injury to his left leg during Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Schultz was reportedly using crutches and wearing a large boot as he left the Bell Centre. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford announced today that he has undergone a successful surgery to repair a fracture of his lower left leg at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. The defenceman will be out for the next four months.

Justin Schultz Injured

Schultz went down awkwardly after running into the boards with the Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec. His leg bent unnaturally underneath his body. Schultz knew something was wrong right away as he asked for the ref to stop the play. He had to be helped off the ice by his teammates and Pens trainer Chris Stewart. The injury happened only about eight minutes into the game. He was not putting any weight onto his leg as he was escorted out. Schultz ultimately did not return to the game, which ended in a shootout loss for the Pens.

What this means for the future

Pittsburgh will have to tap into their defensive depth with Schultz out long term. The most probable players to fill the void are Jack Johnson, Jamie Oleksiak, and rookie Juuso Riikola. Oleksiak was scratched on Saturday to make space for Riikola, whos showing tons of promise early in the season.

With Schultz out, Oleksiak can expect to see more playing time as well. Oleksiak can play confidently and consistently, something the Pens will appreciate after the loss of a veteran like Schultz. Johnson was a question mark coming into the season. Signed as a free agent, a lot of people wondering how he would perform after sputtering out in Columbus. Johnson played a solid game against the Canadiens and has been looking comfortable with the club. If these guys can step it up in the absence of Schultz, then the Penguins blue line will be able to weather the loss of Schultz.
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