04/17/2013 15:18 EDT | Updated 06/17/2013 05:12 EDT

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

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.