Schultz not 'Mr. Popular'

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:14 PM ET

Ian Schultz is likely not the most popular member of the Montreal Canadiens today.

Most Habs fans are enraged their playoff hero — goaltender Jaroslav Halak — was traded to the St. Louis Blues Thursday.

Schultz, who was sent to Montreal along with former first-round pick Lars Eller, hopes to take some of the sting out of that deal in the near future.

“I’m sure Montreal fans won’t be too happy about Halak being traded,” Schultz said. “But I’m ecstatic to be going to a great organization.

“Montreal has outstanding fans and you always read about that team when you’re younger.

“Now, to be another chapter in that, it’s quite an honour.”

Most Habs fans probably expected Carey Price to be the goaltender headed out of town, especially after Halak’s post-season heroics.

But Schultz’s own post-season performance — he co-captained the Calgary Hitmen to a berth in the Memorial Cup — likely opened some eyes in Montreal.

“It might have,” he said. “You don’t really want to say that when you end up losing, but I guess the increased exposure helped.

“It allows a team to see what you bring to the table in heated playoff games.”

The Calgary product put up 15 points in 23 WHL playoff games. But it’s the power forward’s physical game that attracted the Canadiens’ attention.

Schultz, who had 405 penalty minutes over three WHL campaigns, could fit in nicely on a team full of undersized forwards.

“That’s what (Habs GM) Pierre Gauthier said to me — that they don’t have many players like me,” Schultz said. “He just said they want me to continue to improve my skating and fitness.”

Schultz, whose older brother Jeff plays for the Washington Capitals, is likely destined for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs next season.

There will be at least one familiar face waiting to greet him — former Hitmen teammate Ryan White.

“Yeah, I guess he’s quite the hit in Hamilton,” Schultz said.

“I played with him during my 17-year-old season.

“It’ll be interesting to see if we have the chemistry we used to have.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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