In a recent e-mail conversation with Cliff Fletcher, the Maple Leafs general manager suggested that he hopes to put pen to paper with 18-year-old Luke Schenn by early next week.
The debate rages on as to where Schenn should spend the 2007-08 campaign. The initial community sentiment was that another year in Kelowna, where would enjoy a leadership role and ample playing time, was the best option for his development. His pre-season display of steady, consistent performances and composure way beyond his years has certainly put Fletcher in a delicate situation. It’s only been made trickier by the development of some injuries on the Leafs’ back-end.
The injuries to both Jeff Finger and Pavel Kubina seem to make the case for a 9-game run-through that much stronger. While Schenn has yet to face his most formidable opponent of the pre-season in the Detroit Red Wings, I think it’s nearly safe to suggest Schenn will be given some games at the beginning of the regular season. But that delays the decision only a little bit further. Should Schenn continue to perform at his current rate during the regular season and continues to convincingly toss aside 230 pound power forwards, what’s the “right” thing to do?
It’s a question that can only be answered after he can be evaluated during regular season action, but Schenn has certainly earned himself a closer look. It still looks less than likely that he’ll stay for more than the 9-game run-through unless he blows the mind of Wilson and Fletcher and proves himself as a 20-minute-a-night player. With the defensive log-jam, Schenn is facing an uphill battle if he wishes to stay aboard for the next season as he will have to force Fletcher to open space in the Leafs’ top 4. As Fletcher said in a recent press interview, he’s got to be ready to play 20+ minutes a night, otherwise staying with the big boys will only decelerate his development. It’s a long-shot, but I don’t think many expected Schenn to put Fletcher in this situation in the first place.
The almost-completed Bobby Ryan-Mathieu Schneider deal has been surprisingly ill-received by a certain media member but I can’t for the life of me understand why.
Firstly, the identity of the two unnamed prospects is key to evaluating this would-be deal. However, the principle is by no means misguided.
The deal: Bobby Ryan and Mathieu Schneider for Leafs’ first round pick in 2009 (top six protected) and two unnamed prospects.
Hypothetically, if the deal were to go through: If the Leafs finish bottom 6, they pick up a 20-year-old, former 2nd overall pick in addition to their top 6 pick, a major coup for the re-building process. Should the Leafs have finished outside of the bottom six, they would’ve been receiving the young, top tier forward they sorely lack in their system and might not have had the chance to grab at the draft, at the cost of two lesser prospects (sort of trading up in earnest).
Mathieu Schneider, meanwhile, would’ve been the price of doing business, similar to the inclusion of Mark Bell in the Vesa Toskala trade. Apparently, Fletcher had lined up a deal to turn around and peddle Schneider, anyhow.
Interestingly, Lance Hornby reported today that the league is keeping an eye on any activity between the Ducks and the Leafs, but haven’t issued an edict stipulating that a deal cannot be completed by the teams. Fletcher was quoted in the Sun article as suggesting that he negotiated with Ducks’ VP of Hockey Operations, Bob Murray, instead of Brian Burke, likely to avoid such a situation. Seems the league even thinks Burke is Toronto bound.