By Josh Evans, OKC Barons on 04/17/2013

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz was named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as American Hockey League Defenseman of the Year, the league’s front office announced today.

As a free agent, Schultz, a 6-2, 185-pounder from Kelowna, B.C signed with Edmonton last summer, but began the season with Oklahoma City. His impact with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate was immediate. He played in 34 games with the Barons and scored 48 points (18-30-48). That included a franchise record-tying 10-game point-scoring streak and a separate nine-game point-scoring streak.

Despite not playing in Oklahoma City since January 5, Schultz’ 48 points, 18 goals and 19.6 percent shooting percentage is still tops among AHL rearguards. Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ defenseman Matt Donovan is second in the league with 46 points (14-42-46) in 72 games.

He did much of his scoring for the Barons on special teams. Of his 48 points, 25 of them (7-18-25) came with the man advantage. Heading into the last weekend of the season for the Barons, Schultz’ 25 power-play points still leads the team. Mark Arcobello is second on the club with 24 power-play points (6-18-24). Schultz also accounted for two of the Barons five short-handed goals on the season.

This marks the third postseason award that 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 the month of October, CCM / AHL Rookie of the Month honors for the month of November.

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

With the Oilers, Schultz has continued his solid play.  Through 42 games this season, he is the top scoring rearguard on the team with 21 points (6-15-21).

The Barons continue their hunt for a playoff berth with three home games this weekend. Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, the Barons host the Abbotsford Heat at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 21, the close out the regular season against the Houston Aeros at 4 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Barons flagship station, 96.1 KXY.

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