They say good news spreads fast.
Thursday morning Ian Schultz found that out.
Since being traded to the Montreal Canadiens from the St. Louis Blues along with Lars Eller in exchange for goaltender Jaroslav Halak Thursday, the former Calgary Hitmen co-captain hasn’t been able to put down his phone.
Joking he must be one of the most popular people in Calgary since the trade was announced, the brother of Washington Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz has received dozens upon dozens of texts and phone calls.
It’s what happens when you get traded to arguably the most historic hockey club ever.
But it doesn’t mean the trade didn’t catch the 20-year-old off guard.
“It caught me by surprise to say the least,” Schultz admitted. “I didn’t hear any rumours or anything and to get a call it was kind of like ‘woah did that really happen’ and I had to call my agent to tell him and he hadn’t even heard about it. It was a bit surprise to all.”
A surprise even to brother Jeff, also a former member of the Hitmen, who was with Ian when the call from St. Louis Blues general manager Larry Pleau came in after a workout.
“He was right beside me when I got the call. He was surprised too.”
When the call came, a trade wasn’t even the first thought on the mind of the six-foot-three, 208lb forward.
“I had planned on going down (to St. Louis) for a little bit so I thought they were following up with that but it was the GM telling me I had been traded to Monteral.”
Surprise quickly turned to enthusiasm when the news settled that he would now be scrapping to put on the famous bleu, blanc et rouge of the Canadiens sweater.
“It’s very exciting,” admitted Schultz. “They have a great fanbase out there. You look at every game and it’s sold out. They’re very into their hockey team and that is a relief. Coming out of Calgary playing junior here we have a real good solid fanbase but you look at Montreal and that kind of history it’s exciting.”
Schultz leaves behind not only a Blues franchise that made him a third round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but a former Hitmen teammate in Brett Sonne, who turned pro this season. Still, Schultz will have a familiar face in camp.
Ryan White, a former Calgary captain in his own right, was teammates with Schultz for the 2007/08 season. While he hasn’t yet heard from White, Schultz plans on using some valuable information handed down to him from White from his draft year.
“I talked to him a little bit about being drafted before the draft and his big word was composure,” Schultz said. “Don’t get too high for yourself and don’t get too low. You still have a long way to go still and don’t take anything for granted. It’s a big opportunity for me to get a fresh start in Montreal and I’m not going to take it for granted.”
The Calgary, AB. native won’t have to wait long to get acquainted with his new organization. Montreal breaks ground on its rookie camp July 9.
While nerves will be a factor coming into a new environment, Schultz plans on making an immediate impact.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to make a lasting impression and get into their good books,” said Schultz. ““I’m just going to go out there and play how I play, be physical and skilled around the net. I’m fully prepared and willing to do that and hope for the best and get a couple lucky bounces along the way.”
For the Montreal Canadiens, that may be the best news of all.
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