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.