The real cream of the rookie crop? (Courtesy: Christopher Szagola-US PRESSWIRE)

How Good Is Brayden Schenn?

When Brayden Schenn came over in the Mike Richards trade with LA, we were told he’s a top rate prospect. However, we also had to be aware that he was young and might not make an impact right away. Various NHL sources said he had the potential to be just like our former captain, but more talented. He came to the Flyers along with a ton of other rookies, and so far he’s been the least talked about. Part of it was that Sean Couturier and Matt Read have both had really good seasons so far, and part of it was that Schenn missed time with various injuries.

Well he’s healthy now, and he’s scoring a few goals. Most of them have come from being at the right place at the right time. I don’t think that’s the only thing we need to look at though when evaluating how good he is. Of course stats are important, and over the last few seasons the usage of advanced stats has grown. But if you read my posts once in a while, you should know by now that I’m not completely mesmerized by numbers because they can never tell the entire story. So when I look at Schenn, or any player, I go by what my eyes tell me.

I think what I’ve noticed most is that he’s got some pretty good vision and some smart idea’s. When he’s got possession of the puck and is looking for a pass, he’s seems to know who is in the best scoring position and tries to feed it there. However, one drawback I’ve noticed is that his passing aim is a bit off. We’ve watched in amazement as Giroux threads the needle time and time again. Schenn tries to make similar passes, but they dont seem to work out as well for him. Another good quality about him is his creativity when he’s on the rush. He has some pretty good hands, and he’s capable of beating a defender 1-on-1. Let’s not forget the sick breakaway goal he scored on Henrik Lundqvist over a week ago.

What surprised me most is his willingness to throw the body as well. Remember the big hit he threw in Boston? He’s done that a few times. And he hasn’t shied away from dropping the gloves when he needed to. On Sunday, when Briere was nailed by Kronwall, it was Schenn who was the first one to go over there and check things out. We’ve seen him go into the corners to forecheck and come out of there with the puck on many occasions. He can downright be dominant at times when he plays physical.

He’s getting better, but he’s still got plenty of room to grow. As smart of a player as he seems to be, the execution isn’t always there.  But as the season has moved along, he’s shown a lot of improvement. He needs to make sure that he keeps working hard to get better. I’m not at the practices or in the weight room. I don’t have any knowledge about his work ethic. I just hope he doesn’t get full of himself, and looks at guys like Jagr and Giroux and Hartnell who are always trying to get better. I think as he plays a bit more, he’s going to get more and more comfortable with the speed of the game, and his hands will catch up to what his mind is seeing.

I do think he’s by far our most talented rookie. I’m not completely sure about his all around game just yet. Read and Couturier get a ton of minutes on the PK, Schenn doesn’t get any. If he wants more playing time, he needs to work on backchecking, and Peter Laviolette will reward him. He’s a fair coach, and minutes must be earned. I’m a big believer that you need depth down the middle for a team to be successful. So if Schenn can make a few strides in the near future, then this Flyers team will greatly improve.

Thanks for reading!

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Tags: 2011-12 Season Boston Bruins Brayden Schenn Claude Giroux Danny Briere Henrik Lundqvist Jaromir Jagr Los Angeles Kings Matt Read Mike Richards NHL Niklas Kronwall Peter Laviolette Philadelphia Flyers Sean Couturier

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