Yesterday the Oilers re-signed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a seven-year $42 million extension. As the cap hit on the deal matches those given to Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle the expectation is that Edmonton will also re-sign 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov on similar terms a year from now. But what about the fifth key member of Edmonton’s young core? Defenceman Justin Schultz is a year away from being a restricted free agent and he’s a player of great importance to the team.

One of the big differences (aside from position) between Schultz and the Oilers’ star forwards is that due to his age when he signed Schultz’s entry-level contract is just two years rather than three. Edmonton re-signed Hall and Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins after two years of NHL play and one year from free agency. If they want two years of data before making a decision on Schultz they will wait until next summer. If they want to get him re-signed well before his contract expires the time is now (and like colleague David Staples I think now is a good idea).

What kind of money might Schultz command? To give an indication I looked for young defenders with similar scoring numbers who had recently signed a contract with their teams.