The Red Deer Rebels have only had one game to evaluate Brandon Schuldhaus, but they’re excited for the future.
Red Deer acquired the 18-year-old defenceman on Friday from the Seattle Thunderbirds, in exchange for stay-at-home 19-year-old Austin Strand and a 2019 6th round pick in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Associate coach Jeff Truitt said it’s too early to tell where Schuldhaus will fit in on the back end, but after only 60 minutes he’s seen the young defender fit in a few different situations.
“I liked his feet. For a big guy he can move his feet,” Truitt said.
“A great active stick and when you put those things together you become a pretty good defender. He’s got some offensive upside as well, he’s got a good shot and release. He’s learning our systems and to play with some of the guys on the team. For me, it’s great to see he got off to a pretty good start and we want to continue to build from there. “
Schuldhaus grew up in Calgary and played most of his minor hockey between Bow Valley and Airdrie. He then moved to Minnesota to play at the Shattuck- St. Mary’s prep school, before being drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Schuldhaus said he is excited to play in Red Deer with its great fan base.
“I know it’s a really good hockey city,” he said.
The six-foot-three, 205-pound defender played 90 games with Seattle over the last two seasons. But he said he was just a victim of a crowded blueline with Seattle.
“I was hoping to get a trade,” he said. “When I found out I got traded here it was definitely exciting. Definitely a good team to get traded to. It was just a numbers thing, just wasn’t a good fit.”
Truitt added that he hopes Schuldhaus can use his size to his advantage going forward, like he did in his first appearance with the Rebels where he played mostly on a pair with Ethan Sakowich.
“I hope he becomes an elite defender,” he said. “With his size and the way that he plays and how hard he plays that he can play, I think that’s probably his go to, rather than being an offensive guy. He’s got some offensive capabilities that way, we know that… to give himself the best chance at the next level, he’s going to have to be a shutdown guy.”