Torontosaurus Rex is …


    Pretty obvious choice this week, with two shutout wins making history after poured into Leafs silks.

    J.S. Giguere stabilized the crease with immediate impact in a record setting arrival. The NHL draped him with second star of the week honours. He’s been rewarded and praised.

    So, I’m going off the board.

    Lesser named, but arguably a bigger beneficiary of the overhaul in Toronto is this week’s Torontosaurus Rex is:

    Luke Schenn

    He topped the 21-minute mark in all three games, a first time this season with consecutive 20-plus minutes, while firing a career high two goals and three points in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Ottawa.

    Offensive numbers aside, the main difference is in compete level, fitting in with jumbled pairings, as composed in any defensive pairing, or forming a kid duo with Carl Gunnarsson.

    I initially found bringing in Dion Phaneuf as a sleight to Schenn. They both share elements of their game, with a rugged, hard-hitting style, but while Phaneuf brings a pedigree of goal scoring, Schenn has limited offensive upside but a good low hard shot. A good part of his game that surfaced once again is how he’s firing pucks at the net for tips and rebounds, not just aimlessly blasting it from the point. That’s a bonus for the offense, but scoring shouldn’t be a milestone to judge his development.

    Schenn has responded with inspired, progressive efforts, a positive sign of mental maturity, channeling energy into performance and an important step in development. More important to see was that he didn’t revert to earlier season play. There are still errors, but they’re becoming less frequent and less glaring by degree in comparison to earlier this season.

    Positive signs moving forward for this week’s Torontosaurus Rex.

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    Gus Katsaros is the McKeen’s Hockey Director of Analytics & Pro Scouting and has been writing at MLHS since 2009.