Schenn Should Stay
Total Pro Sports – With Luke Schenn getting close to playing his magical 9th game of the NHL season the question of whether he should stay or be sent down has come up a lot in the past few days. Well I’m here to lay it to rest and say that he should stay!
Now before you go start pulling a John Tortorella on TSN and disagree by saying he’s only 18-years old, take some of these points into consideration.
- 2006-07 Ron Wilson did the same type of thing in San Jose with fresh faced 19-year old Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He went on to have a solid rookie season with 26 points and a plus-13 rating. He did suffer the ever popular “sophomore slump” last season only collecting 14 points and a minus-12 rating, but the key was Wilson kept him up on the top 4 the whole season and it helped him grow as a player. Vlasic is now arguably San Jose’s best defenceman this year at 21-years old with 5 points and a plus-4 rating in 6 games.
- Luke Schenn has shown on several occasions while along the boards that he can handle the bigger bodied opponents. Two plays stick out in my mind. One was during preseason against the Blues. There was a race for the puck to the end boards and Schenn pounded Keith Tkachuk hard into the boards knocking him off his feet, something that’s not very easy to do. Second just happened in tonight’s game vs Anaheim. The Ducks player’s name escapes me right now, but he was skating trying to push the puck over the blue line to clear his own end and Schenn just stood his ground and sent the Anaheim player hard to the ice with a great hit. Yes, Schenn was beaten by Parros on his breakaway goal, but he is still young and has some learning to do which brings me to my next point.
- Will Schenn learn how to play against players like Tomas Holmstrom, Alexei Kovalev, etc. and adapt to the faster pace of the NHL playing in the WHL? No. If he were to go back to the WHL he’d just dominate and wouldn’t learn and improve on his weaknesses. Luke will benefit more from listening to the experienced Leafs coaching staff and playing with NHL defencemen like Tomas K aberle and Pavel Kubina than he would if he went back to Junior and dominated his opponents.
- The Leafs can still let Schenn play for Team Canada in the World Juniors and then re-join the team after the tournament. It isn’t very likely, but if the Leafs believe that being the captain of a gold medal winning team would be helpful for his development that option is there.
So before you start thinking that a great young defenceman that’s only 18-years old shouldn’t be playing in the NHL, take those points into consideration. This isn’t Jeff Ware we’re talking about here.