Brayden Schenn was the 5th overall pick in 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Brayden, as most future NHL players, made his name in the junior leagues as a point producer. When he played more than 3 games in a season he had no less than 32 assists in a season and no less than 53 points. He topped out in the 2009-2010 season for the Wheat Kings with 34/65/99 in 59 games played which was a junior career high in goals, assists and points for him. Brayden’s NHL career has been lackluster thus far in terms of point production with a 12/8/20 goals/assists/points split in 63 games played. I believe this season’s playoff run gave him a world of confidence as he seemed to grow a lot in that Pens series. His physicality is what impressed me most in the playoffs. Remember this shift when he demolished both Paul Martin and Matt Cooke within a time span of 3 seconds? That shows that he is becoming comfortable in playing at the NHL level. Unfortunately for him the Flyers are as deep as any team in the league at the forward position so he gets somewhat buried amongst the likes of Giroux, Hartnell, Couturier and Voracek. I have no doubt though that both Flyers management and coaching liked what they saw in the Pens series from Schenn (nobody can really say that liked what they saw about anybody in the orange and black in the Devils series). Many different roster moves can open up spots on the top lines which would allow Schenn to move up and gain more ice time per game. Jake Voracek and Jaromir Jagr’s futures are closely tied to Schenn’s. Voracek, a pending RFA, and Jagr, a pending UFA, can both be off the club by the start of next season although I believe that to be highly unlikely. If either one of them are not re-signed it is more likely to be Jagr as he is older, clearly passed his prime and showed serious wear and tear as the season got into the dog days. Jake on the other hand had a career year with an NHL career high in both goals (18) and points (49). If management feels that Jagr is holding the younger guys back from flourishing then Homer will no doubt not re-sign Jagr, but he must be sure they will be able to handle the extended minutes and responsibilities. The only kid ahead of Schenn in terms of deserving more minutes next season is one Sean Couturier. This kid is flat out amazing and the poise he has for somebody his age hasn’t been seen for decades. To man up on Malkin to the point that Malkin was legitimately frustrated enough to take cheap shots at a 19 year old kid is something I couldn’t believe I was seeing.
Before Schenn was taken with the 5th overall pick in 2009 the last 4 drafts before that produced 2 defensemen (Luke Schenn, 2008 and Karl Alzner, 2007), 1 forward (Phil Kessel, 2006) and 1 goalie (Carey Price, 2005) at the 5th overall pick. Since it is unfair to compare Schenner to any defensemen or goalies I looked at a comparison between Brayden’s first full NHL season to Phil Kessel’s first full NHL season. A rookie’s first full NHL season is one in which they play at least 25 games in that season for the big club. In 2006-2007 Phil played in 70 games for the Boston Bruins and had a points stat line of 11/18/29 to go along with a -12 +/- rating, 1 PPG and 12 PIM. Not too shabby for a rookie season although many B’s fans felt much to be desired as this kid was supposed to be a sniper and pure goal scorer (and yes he is for sure a bona fide sniper now). He did not have his break out season in terms of scoring until the 2008-09 season when he potted 36 goals to go along with 24 helpers for a points stat line of 36/24/60. Brayden’s first full NHL season was just this past year as he only played in 9 games in 2 seasons for L.A’s big club. Brayden played in 54 games for the Flyers this season and had a points stat line of 12/6/18 to go along with a -7 +/- rating, 4 PPG and 34 PIM. This clearly leaves something to be desired for Flyers fans, but he was not given much responsibility for most of the season as the Flyers were extremely deep at the forward position. His playoff performance this year is where Schenner showed me that he can do some damage when given the minutes and the right line mates. His playoff points stat line was 3/6/9 in 11 games played. That’s almost running at a point per game clip. Hopefully the playoffs prove to be Schenn’s niche. I have no problem with Schenn plugging away during the regular season averaging 20/35/55 and then stepping it up every playoffs to a point per game pace. Only time will tell, but I believe Brayden has a bright future ahead along with all of the other young guns on this current team.
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