Might Schenn make the team?

With eight days before the start of the season, and the training-camp roster continuing to shrink, there’s something unavoidable: Brayden Schenn is still here. Not only that, by all accounts he’s performing well in games and practice and generally making a strong impression.

So I decided to ask Terry Murray if Schenn had a realistic chance to make the team…

MURRAY: “I think we’ll just keep moving on that one and see how things work out. … He’s not going to play in Vegas. I’m going to give him the night off. But he will be here to practice and continue to work at his game.”

I then asked Murray about his philosophy about players in that situation. You’ll remember that Moller and Simmonds made last year’s team, but only with the understanding that they were in the NHL to play significant minutes. Would Murray, I asked, be reluctant to keep Schenn if it meant playing him only in a limited role?

MURRAY: “Philosophically, my personal opinion on that is that you don’t want to have a young, 18-year-old player — and that’s what we’re dealing with here — sitting in that `fourth-line role,’ playing a minimal amount of time and no critical situations, when he could go play a dominant role and be very effective player and develop his game.

“I went through that, way back, if you remember a player — and he’s still playing — Dainius Zubrus in Philly. He came out of Tier 2 juniors as an 18-year-old. There was a discussion on him. He started on the fourth line, but moved up very quickly though, but it’s not ideal for development.”

This, to me, is a pretty obvious call. The Kings send Schenn to junior for one more year, at least. He has been able to build some good confidence in camp, and make a good impression, but a) He’s 18 (and he just TURNED 18) and b) the Kings, with Kopitar, Stoll, Handzus and perhaps Lewis, Richardson and Harrold, aren’t lacking for centers. There’s no need to take an unnecessary risk in this situation.

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  • EASportsMgt

    I think you are absoultely right on this. The Kings are doing the right thing in keeping here this long, so he can continue to build confidence in camp, I just hope they manage his expections so that he doesnt get down on himself when sent back down. One more year and he will be battling for a spot with the big club.

    Saturday night is going to be a good night to gauge the team. I believe that will closely resemble the Opening night line-up. Westgarth needs to step up to keep that spot. Martinez will be the 7th defensemen and if he plays well with Doughty, it is possible we can see him play a few nights a week, especially if Whiskey faulters at all.

  • deadcatbounce

    If the Kings projected him as a second-line center when they drafted him, the only way they should keep him now is if they can give him second-line minutes with second-line responsibilities. Otherwise, he’d be better served playing top minutes with top responsibilities in juniors. His day wil come if he continues to work.

  • PaulCat1969

    I agree completely Rich. This is NOT a situation where he has come into camp and not exceeded everyone’s expectations. He has done just that but with is age and lack of experience he is really better suited to play in juniors and develop. There is no doubt that his future is bright with the Kings but for now he needs to focus on honing his skills and developing physically.

  • wavesinair

    I believe that would leave just one more cut (plus a goalie) to make the 23 man roster to start the season. Who’s it gonna be?

  • PaulCat1969

    My thoughts exactly EA but I will add this. I really don’t see Whiskey failing. This kid is so sound defensively it amazes me. The best thing you can say about him is they no one ever really mentions him at all during a broadcast. He just quietly does his job and that is a great quality of any stay home defensemen.

    The question I have is what do you do for the first two games with OD out of the line-up? My guess is pair Doughty and Drewiske so that Greene can support Martinez. In any event, our defense is extremely solid which is a far cry for just two seasons ago.

  • Paul from Oxnard

    I saw Schenn in the rookie camp practices in July and the rookie game vs. Phoenix in August. To be honest, I’m really surprised he’s still here. I wasn’t that impressed with him, although he was better the 2nd time I saw him then the 1st. Does he have a lot of potential? Of course. Are there quite a few good centers in front of him who probably deserve the shot more then him? I believe so.

    Last year Doughty was unquestionably one of the top 7 defensemen in camp all summer and it was a no brainer to keep him. I don’t see that kind of quality yet with Schenn.

  • nykingfan

    I agree with all of the above.
    We’re not desperate for a center and by next year he’ll be a little more mature and able to seriously compete for a top 6 forward spot.
    It’s a win-win for Schenn and the Kings

  • Cricket

    Anybody else think that next season, or even later this one, we’ll be without either Zeus or Stoll? It seems like a pretty safe bet.

  • jet

    Plus, he is going back to a good situation, fast line mates, good coaching, and a shot at 20 playoff games.
    As opposed to Teu in no man’s land. Unfortunately, Eberlee is playing very well for the Oilers and has a good shot to stick. Although Edmonton doesnt seem to care for fast, slick, small forwards.

  • Some fan

    The question is does Schenn get 9 games in the NHL before he goes back down to junior?

  • Naturallawyer

    Not even a question. Send him back to juniors. Along with all the reasons mentioned above, we can also save a contract year on him. We’ll have him for one additional year at a very low salary cap hit.

    Very good for the Kings to give him a long taste of the show so that he knows he can do it. When he’s back in junior, he’ll be dreaming of being a King again, and next year he’ll be even more prepared.

  • ZF

    Its nice to see these sort of ‘embarrassment of riches’ types of scenarios, versus having to plug players into DL’s boxes that really shouldn’t have been there. I think its a good sign of progress.

  • variable

    rich…

    yeah, yr completely on-point…i agree with the others, too…this should be a no-brainer…

  • nykingfan

    Jet

    I saw most of last nights Edmonton game on NHL network
    Eberlee’s way too small to play in the league this year. He was getting pushed off the puck with incredible ease.
    I’d be shocked if he made it..and if he does, he’s going to get killed. He’s like a smaller version of Moller..the talent is certainly there, but he’s just not physically ready to play in the NHL.

  • What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

    Send him to Manchester. If it appears, half-way through the season, as though he’ll make a difference and he’ll handle the move well, call him up!

  • KingFan4ever

    Send him back. There is no sense in rushing this kid. If he is already this good, a couple of years at the Junior level will only make him better.

  • Adam

    I say DL should play crack dealer… Keep him around for 10 games for a “free taste” and send him back to juniors. Next year, Schenn will do ANYTHING to make the team.

  • http://www.myspace.com/fightingIris TweenerSongs

    I’m going to have to disagree with most of the reasons given here. Sure, the kid’s 18…great. So was Doughty. However, he appears to have a good deal of confidence, and has the physical tools, build and compete level to play in the NHL. To me, that means the discussion should simply turn to whether or not he can help this team win games. If he can, why not keep him here? His role may be diminished, compared, but how would that not boost his confidence even more? He can let his game grow on the big stage, playing against the best competition possible. A year in the NHL, even playing 12 minutes per game, is going to be equal (at the very least) to 20 minutes in Juniors, experience-wise. Provided he’s making a serious contribution, is all I’m saying.

  • Pumpernicholl

    Certainly as a #5 overall pick who has shown extremely well in his first NHL camp, Schenn is worthy of a long look.

    Some of the issue, though, probably has to do with Stoll. When you are talking about an arthritis problem which Stoll has had, there is an unpredictability factor about his wellness.

    If Stoll’s health began to be chronically problematic, then Schenn would reasonably step in to fill the gap. The longer Stoll plays with no problems though, the less Schenn will be needed and I agree that juniors would absolutely be the best place for him.

  • wavesinair

    I’m sure Rich will have an update soon, but here’s how practice went down today…

    EVERYONE that is left was there.
    The top 3 lines were the same.
    Yellow line: Clune/Lewis/Westgarth
    Red line: Ivanans w/ Harrold, Schenn and Richardson rotating.
    Quick looked really sharp today except that Kopitar owned him.

    The 7 forwards mentioned above stayed after practice the longest. They were having a lot of fun as far as I could tell. Lots of joking, laughing and messing with each other.

    Clune is the smallest of this group.
    Bernier looked annoyed.
    Stoll skated strong.
    Handzus yawned.

  • variable

    on a side note…

    hockey sabermetrics, anyone…?

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/insider/news/story?id=4481499

  • variable

    and here’s VUKOTA’s breakdown on the kings…

    http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=267

  • kyle

    Agree with most everyone here. He’s getting as long a look as possible, and as much time in practices with the NHLers as he can. Just working with the guys on the “big club” can do a lot for a young player’s growth, especially when the pressure of a game is not there. TM and the coaches/vets can teach, this kid can soak it all up, and go back to Juniors smarter, more skilled and more motivated (although with a Schenn, motivation appears to be part of the family’s DNA) for next year.

  • jet

    NY — that is great news, as the Pats might see a playoff series with Ebs.

    Waves — Clune is smaller than Harold?

  • variable

    TWEENER…

    you actually make the only good argument (besides performance) that would support schenn starting the season with the team…

    but there are some other things you have to consider besides what rich and others have already stated…here are some rookie guidelines to consider…

    The 10-game mark: A junior-aged player with a contract can play up to nine NHL games as a trial period. If he is returned to junior before the tenth game, his contract is effectively put on hold: when he goes to training camp the following season, he will be in the first year of his contract.Once the player appears in his tenth NHL game, his contract kicks in. He can still be returned to his junior club after that. But at season’s end, a full contract year will expire.

    The 40-game mark: This is when the clock starts ticking on a player’s free agent status. Under the 2005 collective agreement, a player is eligible for unrestricted free agency after seven years in the NHL. But if he returns to junior hockey before playing 40 NHL games, the season does not count as an “accrued season,” which means it doesn’t count towards free agency eligibility.So an 18-year-old rookie who plays at least 40 NHL games can become an unrestricted free agent at the age of 25. An 18-year-old who is returned to junior hockey before game 40 will not be eligible for free agency until he’s 26. (Assuming both go on to become NHL regulars every season after that.)

    Note: also that a junior-aged player with an NHL contract cannot be sent to a minor pro league like the AHL unless he has already played four seasons of junior hockey. He must either stay on the NHL roster or return to junior.

    so the kings contractually need to be somewhat cautious for everyone’s benefit…if schenn doesn’t work after that 9th game and he’s still with the team, it counts as a season for schenn…

    i think it’s the right thing to do and the best option…

  • wavesinair

    yes as far as i can tell he’s about 2 inches shorter. he’s probably stronger, but it doesn’t look by much.

  • EASportsMgt

    PaulCat1969 I agree with you and for the record, I dont believe he would either. He is just the second least experience defenseman we would have and therefore mentioned if he did have a rough start, I can see Martinez getting more ice.
    To answer your question, I would leave Martinez with Doughty. No reason to shake up the pairings anymore than they have to. The key is have Martinez let Doughty know he has his back and for him to play his game, and he will play his. All the scouting reports on Martinez say, know one has ever seen him burned on a one on one. I dont expect it now. He is good defenseman and should allow Doughty to play his game. N

  • Chuck

    Ideally, he’d be better off in JR’s, for this year. I think he could benefit from staying with the big club for 9 games, just to get a taste of the NHL atmosphere, then send him down. He’ll get an extended look, not cost a year of his contract, nor a year towards free agency.

  • Bruin26

    If this was last year with last years opening day roster I would say he makes the team, probably over either Moller or Simmonds at just a guess. But the team is very different this year and with Moller not making the team to start the year then that shows you enough that Schenn needs to go back to Juniors. It really is too bad he can’t play in the AHL since his development would probably be better there playing against better players. But it is the right move to send him down. I could see them having him play a few games since he can play what 9 games and still be sent to Juniors. But not even sure that will happen.

    I plan on trying to see him play when his team comes to play the Spokane Chiefs this year if he does go back to the Wheat Kings.

  • merz

    The one thing that nobody has mentioned is this:
    Schenn will return to Junior for the Brandon Wheat Kings where he will lead the team as the host for the Memorial Cup – by far the most prestigious trophy for club teams at the junior level. He will also play for Canada in the World Junior Championship, likely in a leading role.

    All performance/contract issues aside, this is invaluable experience – rather than spending the season in the bottom of the West…

    Go Oil!