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Welcome to the Flyers: Brayden Schenn

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 (theobbreakdown@gmail.com), or in the comments below

Lets Go Flyers!

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Marc Siciliano, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brayden+schenn

Comments

Primis's avatar

Schenn as a 1st line center?  Is that what the Flyers are banking on?

Because everything I’ve read on the guy indicates that’s unlikely unless a team just has very few C options (like Koivu in MIN).  He’s not Stamkos, Seguin, or Tavares…

Posted by Primis on 07/27/11 at 10:59 AM ET

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Not as a first line center this year, but he will be sooner than later.

Posted by callmedrw on 07/27/11 at 11:27 AM ET

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Way too much expectations on this kid. The flyers season hinges on him? Wow. I would be excited to have a good prospect but come on, he’s a prospect. gees

Posted by jmiller on 07/27/11 at 11:49 AM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

Way too much expectations on this kid. The flyers season hinges on him? Wow. I would be excited to have a good prospect but come on, he’s a prospect. gees

Didn’t say the season hinges on him, just that a performance thats either particularly good or particularly bad could go a long way in deciding the outcome of the season for this team..

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 11:56 AM ET

cs6687's avatar

He’s the only player among the top five picks in the 2009 draft who has yet to establish himself in the NHL. I wouldn’t set the bar too high if I’m a Flyers fan.

Posted by cs6687 on 07/27/11 at 12:22 PM ET

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True marc, but you can really say that about a lot of the players too, but if you are speaking strictly centerman, then yes it would be great for schenn to fill the void of the missing big 2. I’ve seen him play, and he just doesn’t strike me as being able to do huge things anytime soon. LA stesses defence to their youngsters, which serves any talented young player, but it may take awhile for him to have a large impact if he does. Right now I see him as a productive 3rd line guy for a couple yrs, then we’ll see where that takes him.

Posted by jmiller on 07/27/11 at 12:47 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

True marc, but you can really say that about a lot of the players too,

Absolutely. What I was implying was that with Schenn, any significant contribution isn’t really expected by the team; but is he capable of possibly doing just that? It would seem so. With the other players, their contributions are being more heavily counted on given their experience and track record.

Right now I see him as a productive 3rd line guy for a couple yrs, then we’ll see where that takes him.

If that’s the case, I’d be totally fine with it. Depending on how he progresses,  I would like to see him replace Briere in 2 years as the 2C if the Flyers could trade him (his contract was significantly front loaded; any team that takes on the last 2 years of Briere’s deal saves EIGHT MILLION over the rest of the contract, a bargain for those teams actively reaching towards the cap floor)

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 01:01 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I guess my point was, isn’t he more Jordan Staal than Pavel Datsyuk?  Probably a 3rd C that can play some 2nd C if needed and be fine?

Seems like a heap of expectations to dump on a kid in a city notorious for its impatience… just a bad combination.

Posted by Primis on 07/27/11 at 01:17 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

As a Kings fan I was sad to see Schenn go. He looked good the past two years in camp and both preseason and regular season games. Should have had a few regular season goals, but the puck takes some bounces sometime. Still, I think of him as a second or third line center right now, depending on how his game evolves. Supposedly he didn’t make the team last year because his defensive game wasn’t quite ready, but I think it was largely due to the fact that he was still junior eligible and they just didn’t want to burn a year off of his ELC when there were already too many salaried centers on the roster.

Looking at CapGeek it appears that the Flyers have cleared enough space for Schenn to make the roster. As I watched all the dealing unfold on July 1, it seemed that there might not be room for him but I guess things have changed.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/27/11 at 01:26 PM ET

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Ok, got it. I do agree,  danny may decline soon, and that contract is a killer. To me, simmonds is the wild card. He is a guy that could take it to another level possibly if given the chance. Maybe 60 points? Good to have you here marc

Posted by jmiller on 07/27/11 at 01:31 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

In terms of prospects, JVR (the most recent example of a top end FWD prospect the Flyers have had) wasn’t rushed along at all and it seems to be paying dividends. I don’t see the Flyers suddenly altering this course and rushing Schenn into a major role, especially since there isn’t even room for him in the top-6 as it stands. Barring a change, he’s 3C on the depth chart for the foreseeable future.

The Flyers have actually done well with high end prospects lately - they just always trade their top picks away before they draft them. Hopefully getting Couturier at the 8th pick will open their eyes to the beautiful craziness of draft day (still can’t believe that happened)

Shazam - it will take a drastic change for Schenn to not be on this team out of camp it would seem.

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 01:41 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

Ok, got it. I do agree,  danny may decline soon, and that contract is a killer. To me, simmonds is the wild card. He is a guy that could take it to another level possibly if given the chance. Maybe 60 points? Good to have you here marc

I’m really excited to see how Simmonds plays in O&B next year. Even if he doesn’t light it up on the scoreboard, I wonder if/how his perception of the Flyers franchise and their physical reputation is going to effect his game.

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 01:48 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

and thanks!

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 01:48 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Shazam - it will take a drastic change for Schenn to not be on this team out of camp it would seem.

Nice to hear. I assume that Couturier isn’t expected to make the squad this year, as well… If so, I think you guys would run into cap issues based on the current $ situation.

Simmonds will do really well, btw. Prototypical hard working, scrappy player that’ll win over the fans very early in the season.  Never going to be a big scorer, mind you but he’s got a little - just a little - of the old Bob Kelly (circa 1975) crazed energy on the ice, with some decent offensive moves. He needs the right linemates though…if he’s used on a checking line, he still needs to be with someone else with wheels that’ll go to the net hard in the offensive zone, otherwise he ends up wasting a lot of energy.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/27/11 at 01:54 PM ET

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My understanding is the one thing Schenn has that generic first round forward prospect X doesn’t is that he’s had NHL size, strength, fitness and compete since before he was drafted. A lot of forwards don’t even have that as NHL rookies (Seguin, Omark).

Unfortunately for him, while it can be a liability if you don’t have these things once you reach the show, it’s not so much an asset in the NHL as it is something that veterans lose their job over if they don’t have. In other words, NHL-level work and fitness is an expectation, not an advantage, once you reach the NHL. Sure, there are successful guys who contribute and don’t have these things (ex Kessel, Penner), but they tend to have some outlier asset (in Kessel’s case, acceleration and reach, in Penner’s a radical advantage in frame size and sixth sense in terms of where the puck is going).

Schenn’s had a lot of success in juniors, (from what I’ve seen) mostly by powering through skinnier and/or shorter 17 year olds in tight quarters. Those plays did not exist in his cup of NHL coffee last fall, which is why he struggled so much more badly as a 19 year old than, say, Evander Kane did as an 18 year old (Kane’s strong, but he’s not dependent on being able to overpower the other guy to generate offense). Unfortunately, all those plays Schenn likes won’t exist for him any other year, either, unless he grows 4 more inches and adds another 25 pounds.

Look around the Atlantic division bluelines; exactly who is going to get walked through by a 6’1 190 pounder? That might be an imposing frame against CHL players, but it’s certainly not against NHL players. If Schenn tries bull-rushing the puck through Colin White (or Girardi, Staal, Sauer, Letang, Orpik, Engelland, Hamonik, Volchenkov etc., to say nothing of Ogres like Chara or Gill), he’ll just get planted every time. Right now his entire offensive game is predicated upon being able to do so. So, if the expectation is he’ll some day be a top 2 center, he’s going to fail to live up to expectations unless/until he changes something.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/27/11 at 02:01 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

I would guess Couturier will be sent back to juniors unless he is an absolute animal at camp - as in hands-down the best player on the ice - and even then it’s still a long shot..

Much like Schenn circa last year with LA, it wouldn’t make much sense to burn a year of his ELC for the role he would have to play. He might not have much to gain in juniors, but when I saw him a few weeks ago at the Flyers prospect camp you could tell he has some filling out to do. I’m all for advocating patience with him - the Flyers are stacked down the middle of the ice again

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 02:06 PM ET

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in Kessel’s case, acceleration and reach

Acceleration and release


I guess my point was, isn’t he more Jordan Staal than Pavel Datsyuk?  Probably a 3rd C that can play some 2nd C if needed and be fine?

Posted by Primis on 07/27/11 at 12:17 PM ET

Take out the freakish size/strength/reach/ice coverage and Selke level defense from Staal’s game and yes, Staal’s a fair comparable. Of course, without those things, Staal would have less of an impact on the game.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/27/11 at 02:08 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

My understanding is the one thing Schenn has that generic first round forward prospect X doesn’t is that he’s had NHL size, strength, fitness and compete since before he was drafted. A lot of forwards don’t even have that as NHL rookies (Seguin, Omark).

Unfortunately for him, while it can be a liability if you don’t have these things once you reach the show, it’s not so much an asset in the NHL as it is something that veterans lose their job over if they don’t have. In other words, NHL-level work and fitness is an expectation, not an advantage, once you reach the NHL. Sure, there are successful guys who contribute and don’t have these things (ex Kessel, Penner), but they tend to have some outlier asset (in Kessel’s case, acceleration and reach, in Penner’s a radical advantage in frame size and sixth sense in terms of where the puck is going).

Schenn’s had a lot of success in juniors, (from what I’ve seen) mostly by powering through skinnier and/or shorter 17 year olds in tight quarters. Those plays did not exist in his cup of NHL coffee last fall, which is why he struggled so much more badly as a 19 year old than, say, Evander Kane did as an 18 year old (Kane’s strong, but he’s not dependent on being able to overpower the other guy to generate offense). Unfortunately, all those plays Schenn likes won’t exist for him any other year, either, unless he grows 4 more inches and adds another 25 pounds.

Look around the Atlantic division bluelines; exactly who is going to get walked through by a 6’1 190 pounder? That might be an imposing frame against CHL players, but it’s certainly not against NHL players. If Schenn tries bull-rushing the puck through Colin White (or Girardi, Staal, Sauer, Letang, Orpik, Engelland, Hamonik, Volchenkov etc., to say nothing of Ogres like Chara or Gill), he’ll just get planted every time. Right now his entire offensive game is predicated upon being able to do so. So, if the expectation is he’ll some day be a top 2 center, he’s going to fail to live up to expectations unless/until he changes something.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/27/11 at 01:01 PM ET

Thanks for that stevie.. really good write-up and interesting take. Like I said, this is the guy I knew the least about, so I’m excited to actually take in his game at the NHL level from a relatively unbiased perspective. Everything you said makes perfect sense and correlates well with his stats in juniors..

If the Flyers decide to stick with Giroux, in a few years you can be looking at
1. Giroux
2a. Couturier
2b. Schenn
4: Holmstrom

Down the middle. Not bad considering that’s with Schenn as the 3C

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 02:23 PM ET

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If the Flyers decide to stick with Giroux, in a few years you can be looking at
1. Giroux
2a. Couturier
2b. Schenn
4: Holmstrom

Yeah, that’s a much more realistic plan than expecting Schenn to be a regular fixture at all-star games or something.

Checking center who can spot-fill on the second line is a lot better bet than some of the people who look at Schenn’s gaudy junior numbers and think he’s going to be an Eric Staal, when a best-case scenario is probably a meaner Mike Fisher. As long as Couturier doesn’t get derailed (I know of no reason why he should), that’s a quite credible (though not spectacular) top 3, but not the equal of any 3 of Giroux, Richards, Briere or Carter.

It’s also worth noting that by the time these guys are all ready, the Flyers best two defensemen today will both be sitting in a resort somewhere, sipping pina coladas as a full time job.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/27/11 at 03:01 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

Yeah, that’s a much more realistic plan than expecting Schenn to be a regular fixture at all-star games or something.

Checking center who can spot-fill on the second line is a lot better bet than some of the people who look at Schenn’s gaudy junior numbers and think he’s going to be an Eric Staal, when a best-case scenario is probably a meaner Mike Fisher. As long as Couturier doesn’t get derailed (I know of no reason why he should), that’s a quite credible (though not spectacular) top 3, but not the equal of any 3 of Giroux, Richards, Briere or Carter.

It’s also worth noting that by the time these guys are all ready, the Flyers best two defensemen today will both be sitting in a resort somewhere, sipping pina coladas as a full time job.

(just figured out you can highlight text and hit quote.. awesome)

When you list the 4 C’s the flyers had, it kind of shows why they did what they did. They had 4 guys for 3 roles, and seemed to value what Briere was doing more than his younger counterparts. In a capped world, it doesn’t do much to have a top-6 center playing out of position, much like Carter was all season when he lined up on the wing.

Personally, I dont think they needed to trade Mike Richards at all, but I guess the writing was on the wall after the way his tenure had shaped up in philly (with him being given the C too soon, bad media relations, etc). I love the Carter deal, though. Ultimately though, I think they got a decent return for Richards and can still compete in the EC. As Boston as proven, you only need to get there - the rest is all the bounce of the puck…

As for the defense? I dont know what’s going to happen with Pronger, but Timonen and his $6.3M cap hit are gone in 2 years. The plan seems to be to rely on Mesz/Carle/Coburn this year, with Prongs and Timo as the vet pivots.

I’m saving my bryz thoughts for his WTTF post, but simply but I think he’s going to be a major stabilizing presence on the back end

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 03:22 PM ET

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He’s the only player among the top five picks in the 2009 draft who has yet to establish himself in the NHL. I wouldn’t set the bar too high if I’m a Flyers fan.

Remember Bobby Ryan? Similar sentiments with him being drafted right behind Crosby, and he took about three years to play in the show. Last time I saw Schenn play was at the World Juniors and he looked real solid.

However, I just don’t see the impact of these two major trades paying off for another couple of seasons for Philly. Columbus is slightly better; LA is going to be a monster in the dense West (I think Richards is going to be a perfect fit with the Kings).

Posted by Jesters Dead on 07/27/11 at 03:41 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

Remember Bobby Ryan? Similar sentiments with him being drafted right behind Crosby, and he took about three years to play in the show. Last time I saw Schenn play was at the World Juniors and he looked real solid.

However, I just don’t see the impact of these two major trades paying off for another couple of seasons for Philly. Columbus is slightly better; LA is going to be a monster in the dense West (I think Richards is going to be a perfect fit with the Kings).

I was thinking the exact same thing with the Bobby Ryan comparison. Can say the same for JVR to a lesser extent as well!

As for LA, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something tells me Gagne and Richards might be able to develop a pretty good chemistry with one another. just a hunch though… haha

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/27/11 at 04:01 PM ET

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He was easily the best Junior for the Canadian Team - a men among boys… He’ll be fine. I would project him to be a player of the same caliber as Carter or Richards. It’s the other parts of the Richard-Carter trade you should be more worried about… although the Couturier pick… That’s highway robbery!

Posted by Marc10 from Sydney, Oz on 07/27/11 at 08:17 PM ET

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