Sorry folks, been really busy over the past week or so. Let’s talk some breaking news:
“The Maple Leafs will announce as early as this afternoon that rookie defenceman Luke Schenn will be staying in Toronto and will not be going back to the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Teams can hold on to rookies for nine games before their contract as junior-aged players kick in. The 18-year-old Schenn has played well enough to stick with the big team.
Schenn has been averaging over 21 minutes after eight regular-season games and has been solid defensively for the club.
“I think logic would suggest that the decision isn’t going to be a difficult one,” Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher said.”
From the Toronto Sun this morning: http://www.torontosun.com/sports/hockey/2008/10/27/7216556-sun.html
It’s been fairly obvious that Schenn is able to not only fit in at the NHL level, but stand out and excel as well. He’s come exactly as advertise so far: smart, physical, defensively responsible and full of character. He’s made the transition from a WHL star to a 20+ minute a night NHL defender fairly seamlessly and from all indications, seems to be a big hit in the locker room as well. And why not? Seeing an 18 year old take on a seasoned NHL fighter in Chris Neil on Saturday to stand up for his teammate getting hit (Stajan) tells you all you need to know about this kid’s heart.
Those are definitely the positives of this whole situation. The negatives are mostly just questions right now.
#1 – Is it worth it eat up one year of his entry level contract?
At this point, I’d say Schenn’s earned it. No problem here. If the Leafs feel this is their man, they’ve got the dough to keep him long-term.
#2 – Where does Schenn find the time to develop his offensive game? Will he get any PP time?
This is probably the major drawback with me. As I outlined in one of my blogs a few weeks back, I feel that Schenn could have a Weber-like offensive impact at the NHL level provided he had the opportunity to logÂ plenty of PPÂ minutes andÂ work on it back in junior. Weber and Phaneuf both needed an extra year in junior, is Schenn that far ahead of them?
#3 – Does Schenn get to play in the WJC in Canada this year?
One of the big selling points of playing back in junior for Schenn was for him to continue to decorate his impressive trophy case with perhaps a WHL MVP or WHL Best Defenseman award as well asÂ have the opportunity to captain the Canadian junior to another medal in his home country. Essentially, it’d be the opportunity to go back and be “The Man”, log a ton of ice and become a leader. As I mentioned earlier, him sticking for Stajan against Neil shows that he’s got what it takes “upstairs” to be an NHL impact player right now.
Concern #1? Check.
Concern #2? Still a question.
Concern #3? Check.
What are your thoughts?
Always a pleasure,