Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 10:46 AM ET
Welcome to the Flyers, Brayden Schenn.
An organization that was once barren with top end prospects suddenly finds itself with two legitimate blue-chip pivots down the middle of the ice. And even though both Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn represent the future of the franchise, Schenn is the one likely to be counted on for the more immediate impact - and rightfully so.
I have to admit, of all the guys the Flyers have recently acquired, Schenn is the one I knew the least about. My initial reaction to him being penciled into the third-line center role was slight disappointment. I thought his cap hit ($3.110 million due to bonuses) might be more justified by a more experienced player in that position. Also, I wondered if it would be good for his long-term development to be in a role that he isn’t necessarily suited for, especially since he was just traded for the guy he is ultimately in line to replace.
Fortunately, I was able to pose these questions to NHL-prospect guru Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, who quickly calmed my nerves in regards to the promising center when he had this to say:
“Schenn is a pretty versatile player and while I think he’ll eventually end up their top-line center, I don’t see a problem easing him into that role. Usually I would oppose top-end scoring prospects being on a 3rd line in their first full pro year, but Schenn is a different case for a few reasons.
He’s so skilled and multi-dimensional that I think he would be better than most acquisitions you’d get on the free agent market for a 3rd line pivot, and that’s important for a team that could still make a run. Even if you could find someone better, considering ice time allocations, the overall contribution at the end of the season would likely just be a marginal improvement, so at that small sacrifice you get key development time for a future key player for this franchise.”
Mind = eased.
It’s tough to project how any player will do in the upcoming season, let alone a rookie; but it’s clear that a polarizing performance from Schenn could be the catalyst in either the success or failure of the Flyers hopes next season. Any significant regression on his part could leave a lasting effect on the bottom-six, and worse: in the standings. However, if he can find his stride and contribute from the get-go, he could be the piece that helps finally get the Flyers over the hump. For now, the Flyers are probably just hoping he can land somewhere in between.
**For updates on NHL Prospects, be sure to follow @coreypronman on twitter.
Continue the discussion with me on twitter (@marcs797), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or in the comments below
Lets Go Flyers!
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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