Oilers' Justin Schultz wins AHL award despite just 34 games played

04/17/2013 03:18 EDT | Updated 06/17/2013 05:12 EDT
Justin Schultz hasn't played an American Hockey League game since Jan. 5, but that didn't stop the league from recognizing him as top defenceman for the entire 2012-13 season.

Schultz, now with the Edmonton Oilers, racked up 18 goals and 30 assists in just 34 games with the Oklahoma City Barons, with a plus-8 rating.

It was enough for him to win the Eddie Shore Award. The Kelowna, B.C., native is also first rookie in the 55-year history to win the honour.

It's recognition that may not have happened were it not for the NHL lockout.

The Oilers beat other NHL clubs in a heavy recruiting drive to land the services of the 22-year-old Schultz last summer after he went undrafted through three seasons of the University of Wisconsin.

Schultz could also be a candidate for the NHL's Calder Trophy as top rookie. He's scored six goals and 15 assists in 42 games, with a minus-17 rating.