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Bill Meltzer: Expectations for L Schenn


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Thought this was a good article by Bill... I agree mostly but do not think Schenn's passing skills are "underrated" by any stretch. The simply are not that good and would like to see him refine his outlet (first) passes...

Hockey players develop at their own pace. Just because one player is ahead of another at a certain age, it doesn't mean the latter player will never fulfill his potential. Defensemen in particular often tend to have a longer development cycle than forwards.

Four seasons have passed since the 2008 NHL Draft. That may seem like a lot of time, but most of the players selected have yet to celebrate their 23rd birthdays. There is still time for players labeled underachievers to have their breakthroughs at the top level.

Luke Schenn has not come close to living up to the hype that accompanied him into the defense-heavy 2008 Draft. But were the expectations even fair in the first place?

The Hockey News labeled him "the second coming of Adam Foote; a tough, physical defenseman with a modicum of skill and a ton of leadership qualities." A scout quoted in McKeen's draft preview saying, "With the way he dominates physically, any points he brings to his NHL team will be a bonus." Redline Report hailed the elder Schenn brother as "the best shutdown defender to come along in years."

Living up these standards is a mighty heavy burden for a young defenseman to bear, especially for a 18-year-old who goes directly to the NHL in his draft year. There is still a multi-year learning curve to navigate, and learning on the job in the world's toughest league is tough in any market, let alone under the constant scrutiny that comes with playing in Toronto.

In retrospect, it really should not have been a big surprise that Schenn went from untouchable at 18 to trade bait in his early 20s. Traded to Philadelphia in a straight-up deal for James van Riemsdyk (who has also struggled under the weight of lofty expectations after being the 2nd overall pick of the 2007 Draft), Schenn will try to get his career back on track in another high-pressure market.

Having younger brother Brayden on hand as a teammate can be a positive for Schenn. Just as important, he will have four years of NHL experience under his belt, with a better surrounding cast than he had for most of his Toronto tenure. The Flyers don't need him to be the next Adam Foote, going head-to-head with all the top opposing forwards. They just Schenn to keep his game relatively simple, bang some bodies and make a good first-pass out of the zone.

Schenn's biggest weakness will always be his lack of blazing speed. Even before he was drafted, scouts said he needed to refine his anticipation of the play in order to fully translate his WHL success to playing in the NHL. This learning curve is why his aggressive hitting game has sometimes gotten him in trouble at the NHL level -- he is prone to going out of position and lacks the speed to recover.

By no means is it unusual for a young defenseman to need multiple NHL seasons to work through the issues that Schenn has dealt with thus far in his career. Just by means of comparison, Foote (the 22nd overall pick of the 1989 Draft) did not reach the NHL until age 20 and did not have his breakthrough year until his fourth season.

Schenn will never be a big point producer for the Flyers. Nevertheless, he is an underrated passer who is capable of duplicating or surpassing the 20 assists he had for Toronto last year. His shot is heavy but is not especially accurate nor is it released quickly. Even so, he's had a pair of five-goal seasons so far, and he's capable of getting one or two more than that in any given year.

Strictly as a defensive defenseman, Schenn is arguably a slight upgrade on free agent depature Matt Carle. However, when other elements of the game are considered -- particularly in terms of skating with the puck and playmaking -- other players will have to step up to replace what Carle brought to the club.

In the very near future, Schenn is eminently capable of bringing to the Flyers every bit of what Karl Alzner brings to the Capitals or what Brooks Orpik has brought to the Penguins in his best years. Just don't expect Schenn to suddenly turn into a latter-day Rod Langway or Foote and he won't disappoint.

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I agree that it has hard to tell whether he has disappointed or people simply had him pegged wrong. I didn't know much about him and still don't, but even just digging around a little bit, it seems like the Leafs just expected him to be good. Best I can tell, they really didn't give him much to work with or guide him much at all. It was kinda like, "You're our future captain, now go out and play."

I'm kind of glad we're getting him at the age that we are. He's young enough that it's very possible he could still improve.

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I agree that it has hard to tell whether he has disappointed or people simply had him pegged wrong. I didn't know much about him and still don't, but even just digging around a little bit, it seems like the Leafs just expected him to be good. Best I can tell, they really didn't give him much to work with or guide him much at all. It was kinda like, "You're our future captain, now go out and play."

I'm kind of glad we're getting him at the age that we are. He's young enough that it's very possible he could still improve.

completely agree... some people believe he will replace Carle and he won't. Certianly not from an offensive production. the one thing he knows how to do is hit... he will be loved just for his hitting in Philly... although, he tends to be over-agressive and gets out of position a lot. Getting him while still young can be a great benefit... Learning from the likes of Kimmo will only help this kid...

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In my experience it is rare for a defenseman to come in an consistently dominate at 18/19/20 in the NHL.

When you add in media hype and the spotlight on anything that can excuse another disappointing season for the Bestest, Greatest Most Valuable Team In The World That Has Never Won A Blessed Thing In My Lifetime the expectations can be ridiculous.

Keeping it simple is often the most important thing for a defenseman. Keep it simple and wait for your opportunity to hit and when it comes, deliver it like you've been waiting to do it all game.

Because you have.

We'll see how the change of scenery goes.

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- no truer words have ever been spoken!

Until these....

In my experience it is rare for a defenseman to come in an consistently dominate at 18/19/20 in the NHL.

This is true for any player, but much moreso for a defenceman.

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Thought this was a good article by Bill... I agree mostly but do not think Schenn's passing skills are "underrated" by any stretch. The simply are not that good and would like to see him refine his outlet (first) passes...

Hockey players develop at their own pace. Just because one player is ahead of another at a certain age, it doesn't mean the latter player will never fulfill his potential. Defensemen in particular often tend to have a longer development cycle than forwards.

Four seasons have passed since the 2008 NHL Draft. That may seem like a lot of time, but most of the players selected have yet to celebrate their 23rd birthdays. There is still time for players labeled underachievers to have their breakthroughs at the top level.

Luke Schenn has not come close to living up to the hype that accompanied him into the defense-heavy 2008 Draft. But were the expectations even fair in the first place?

The Hockey News labeled him "the second coming of Adam Foote; a tough, physical defenseman with a modicum of skill and a ton of leadership qualities." A scout quoted in McKeen's draft preview saying, "With the way he dominates physically, any points he brings to his NHL team will be a bonus." Redline Report hailed the elder Schenn brother as "the best shutdown defender to come along in years."

Living up these standards is a mighty heavy burden for a young defenseman to bear, especially for a 18-year-old who goes directly to the NHL in his draft year. There is still a multi-year learning curve to navigate, and learning on the job in the world's toughest league is tough in any market, let alone under the constant scrutiny that comes with playing in Toronto.

In retrospect, it really should not have been a big surprise that Schenn went from untouchable at 18 to trade bait in his early 20s. Traded to Philadelphia in a straight-up deal for James van Riemsdyk (who has also struggled under the weight of lofty expectations after being the 2nd overall pick of the 2007 Draft), Schenn will try to get his career back on track in another high-pressure market.

Having younger brother Brayden on hand as a teammate can be a positive for Schenn. Just as important, he will have four years of NHL experience under his belt, with a better surrounding cast than he had for most of his Toronto tenure. The Flyers don't need him to be the next Adam Foote, going head-to-head with all the top opposing forwards. They just Schenn to keep his game relatively simple, bang some bodies and make a good first-pass out of the zone.

Schenn's biggest weakness will always be his lack of blazing speed. Even before he was drafted, scouts said he needed to refine his anticipation of the play in order to fully translate his WHL success to playing in the NHL. This learning curve is why his aggressive hitting game has sometimes gotten him in trouble at the NHL level -- he is prone to going out of position and lacks the speed to recover.

By no means is it unusual for a young defenseman to need multiple NHL seasons to work through the issues that Schenn has dealt with thus far in his career. Just by means of comparison, Foote (the 22nd overall pick of the 1989 Draft) did not reach the NHL until age 20 and did not have his breakthrough year until his fourth season.

Schenn will never be a big point producer for the Flyers. Nevertheless, he is an underrated passer who is capable of duplicating or surpassing the 20 assists he had for Toronto last year. His shot is heavy but is not especially accurate nor is it released quickly. Even so, he's had a pair of five-goal seasons so far, and he's capable of getting one or two more than that in any given year.

Strictly as a defensive defenseman, Schenn is arguably a slight upgrade on free agent depature Matt Carle. However, when other elements of the game are considered -- particularly in terms of skating with the puck and playmaking -- other players will have to step up to replace what Carle brought to the club.

In the very near future, Schenn is eminently capable of bringing to the Flyers every bit of what Karl Alzner brings to the Capitals or what Brooks Orpik has brought to the Penguins in his best years. Just don't expect Schenn to suddenly turn into a latter-day Rod Langway or Foote and he won't disappoint.

considering he was a healthy scratch most of the year for the Leafs I have little expectations for this guy...don't blame it on pressure either..Philly will be just as brutal to play in front of as Toronto...in the end the Leafs got the better end of the deal..imo

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@orange_crush

Not starting s**t here, but where do you get this information from? He was a healthy scratch (from the best of my knowledge) for 3 games last season. 3 games = most of the year to you? And Philly just as brutal as Toronto? Dude, Philly might be a little rough for players to adjust to, but Toronto is like a million times worse. Imagine 2,000,000 Lord Vaders booing you and ripping you on a daily basis. A Maple Leaf player can't even take a piss without somebody knowing that they didn't wash their hands.

Philly, yeah we like hockey, but I think he'll be ok knowing that he is not on the front page of the local newspaper for trivial things. Panoch and Co, have nothing on the Toronto sports media.

I am not saying Schenn is going to be the Golden God, but time will tell. Give the guy a few games in the O&B before you throw him in the scrap pile.

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@orange_crush

Not starting s**t here, but where do you get this information from? He was a healthy scratch (from the best of my knowledge) for 3 games last season. 3 games = most of the year to you? And Philly just as brutal as Toronto? Dude, Philly might be a little rough for players to adjust to, but Toronto is like a million times worse. Imagine 2,000,000 Lord Vaders booing you and ripping you on a daily basis. A Maple Leaf player can't even take a piss without somebody knowing that they didn't wash their hands.

Philly, yeah we like hockey, but I think he'll be ok knowing that he is not on the front page of the local newspaper for trivial things. Panoch and Co, have nothing on the Toronto sports media.

I am not saying Schenn is going to be the Golden God, but time will tell. Give the guy a few games in the O&B before you throw him in the scrap pile.

ok maybe I over exaggerated a bit..but you get my point..

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completely agree... some people believe he will replace Carle and he won't. Certianly not from an offensive production. the one thing he knows how to do is hit... he will be loved just for his hitting in Philly... although, he tends to be over-agressive and gets out of position a lot. Getting him while still young can be a great benefit... Learning from the likes of Kimmo will only help this kid...

I think that most important part of that statement. Carle was no defensive stalwart and I don't think he'd be real hard to "replace" defensively.

I am hoping that its easier to teach an aggressive guy to reign it in - but not stop being that way - rather than teaching a big guy with no balls to use his body.

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