Vegas Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25: Jimmy Schuldt poised to compete for full-time NHL role in 2019-20

The two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist with a booming shot is very much in the running to make the team out of training camp.

Knights On Ice’s 2019-20 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. Six Knights On Ice writers created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that forms the final ballot.

Another defenseman who finds himself in the Top 10 is 24-year-old Jimmy Schuldt, who finishes at No. 7 in our Top 25 Under 25 rankings.

Schuldt was a Hobey Baker Award finalist in 2017-18 and 2018-19 after putting up a combined 73 points in 79 games with St. Cloud State University. As a senior, he was named NCHC Player of the Year and NCHC Defensive Defenseman of the Year, and he was the first player in program history to be a three-time team captain.

Schuldt played one game with Vegas last season after signing a one-year entry-level contract as one of the most sought-after free-agent college defensemen. He’s now under contract for the 2019-20 season after recently signing a one-year, one-way deal with a cap hit of $850,000.

No. 7: Jimmy Schuldt
Position: D
Age: 24 (May 11, 1995)
Size: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds
Nationality: American

The Minnetonka, Minnesota native, who never missed a game in his collegiate career, is considered a solid all-around blue liner with a brilliant shot and a plethora of offensive capabilities.

He scored 38 goals and 118 points in 156 career games with St. Cloud State, hitting the 10-goal mark in three out of four seasons and setting a new school record for most points by a defenseman in program history.

Schuldt was particularly effective on the power play, scoring 12 of 20 goals over the last two seasons (and eight of 10 last year) on the man advantage.

That’s an area of his game he’ll likely have a chance to develop with the Knights should he make the team.

It’s no secret Vegas’ power play struggled last year, and with Colin Miller no longer in the mix, Schuldt could see some time on the second unit. He played 1:49 on the power play when he made his NHL debut in the final game of the 2018-19 regular season.

His NHL numbers are inflated because of that one-game sample, but he certainly looked convincing in the contest, an April 6 matchup against Los Angeles in which he tallied an assist in just over 21 minutes of ice time.

He became just the second player to record a point while making his NHL debut with the Knights, joining the infamous Vadim Shipachyov.

Though he finished with a minus-one rating (he was on the ice for the Kings’ empty-net strike), Schuldt made many strong plays throughout the game, several of which led to Vegas goals.

For example, he stepped up in the neutral zone to intercept a Los Angeles pass before kick-starting the play that got Vegas on the board.

Plus, while his crisp pass to Valentin Zykov for his first career point was memorable, the pinch prior to the play may have been just as significant.

He demonstrated impressive instincts to keep plays alive at both ends of the ice.

In fact, one of his strongest shifts came in the third period when he calmly and efficiently cleared the zone; he followed that up with a backhand flip pass in the offensive zone, which led to a promising scoring chance.

Schuldt did get caught pinching a few times and also had some trouble defending the rush, but all in all it was an inspiring debut for a dynamic player.

Though his rocket of a shot is perhaps his biggest asset, Schuldt remains focused on his two-way game. He led St. Cloud State in blocks in three out of four seasons, recording a total of 344 in his NCAA career. His vision, puck-moving ability and skating are all strengths as well, and he’s not afraid to play with a physical edge.

The piano-playing rearguard will look to put all of those skills on display as he competes for a roster spot in training camp. He has a very strong chance of making the team, though he’ll have steep competition with the likes of Nic Hague, Zach Whitecloud, Dylan Coghlan and Jake Bischoff vying for the same role.

Regardless of when he makes the jump, though, it’s clear there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Schuldt’s game. He may not be flashy, but his work ethic, poise and well-rounded game should serve him well moving forward.

Previously in Vegas Golden Knights Preseason 2019 Top 25 Under 25: