EL SEGUNDO, CA — As the 2009-10 season wore on for the Los Angeles Kings, what became rather apparent was that they had a hole in their lineup at second-line center.
Although Jarret Stoll and Michal Handzus have tried to fill that spot the last few seasons, both are far more suited to third-line center duty. Handzus, with his size, strength and strong defensive play is also effective on the fourth line.
Once the Kings qualified for the playoffs this past season, that hole in the lineup became a crater and was a major factor in the lack of production from their top two lines.
But help just might be on the way with center prospect Brayden Schenn expected to make a strong push to make the Kings’ 2010-11 opening night roster.
The 6-0, 192-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan had a hugely successful 2009-10 season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, scoring 34 goals and tallying 65 assists for 99 points with a +41 plus/minus rating and 55 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games.
But Schenn, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft, didn’t stop there.
Indeed, he took a break from his role as captain of the Wheat Kings to help lead Canada to a silver medal in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship, scoring two goals and adding six assists for eight points with a +8 rating and four penalty minutes.
“[The World Juniors] was a good experience,” said Schenn. “I played with a lot of great players like [Edmonton Oilers center prospect] Jordan Eberle [of the Regina Pats, also in the WHL].”
“We came up a little short, losing in overtime [in the goal medal game against the United States],” added Schenn. “But it was good tournament, good experience and I had fun.”
Schenn also helped lead the Wheat Kings in the WHL playoffs, scoring eight goals and contributing eleven assists for 19 points in 15 playoff games.
The Wheat Kings also played in the 2010 Memorial Cup (Canadian junior hockey champion) tournament, scoring a goal and adding five assists for six points in five games, leading his team to the Memorial Cup final, despite suffering from an ankle injury.
For Schenn, the highlight of his 2009-10 season was a one-day call-up to the Kings.
On November 26, 2009, he made his NHL debut at Vancouver, a 4-1 loss by the Kings, where Schenn did not record a point in 12:31 of ice time (see LA Kings: Brayden Schenn Becomes A King For A Day; Loktionov Goes On Injured Reserve).
“That would be another thing for the highlight of the year,” Schenn beamed. “That’s probably higher than the World Juniors. I played on a line with Dustin Brown and Alexander Frolov, two great players who gave me a good chance for one game.”
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” Schenn added. “It was a one-day thing, but it was a good time and I enjoyed the experience.”
Fast forward to July 2010…the ankle injury Schenn suffered during the playoffs kept him off the ice during the Kings’ 2010 Development Camp for their young prospects, held June 28 – July 3, 2010, but not out of the gym.
“I’m trying to get myself in better shape, to the level I need to be to play with the [Kings] this year,” said Schenn. “I’m going to come down for a few weeks in July and in August to work with [Kings Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Adams].”
“It’s going to be pretty important for me,” added Schenn. “If that’s what I need to do to get to the next level, I’m going to do it. I’m looking forward to September and trying to get myself into the best shape I can.”
Despite having a good 2009-10 season, Schenn has an very steep hill to climb before cracking the Kings’ lineup. Indeed, it is far more likely that he will need more seasoning and will have to spend another season with the Wheat Kings, as he still needs to improve in several areas.
“It’s a lot different from the junior level,” Schenn explained. “There’s a lot more speed, guys are quicker, passes are better. Last year at the draft, they wanted me to improve my skating and quickness. I think from that time until now it has gotten better. I’m quicker. But speed is a big factor in the game these days. I still have to improve and I’m trying to work on that and just try to get better every day.”
“I’ve gained a lot of experience playing in the World Juniors and getting another year of junior under my belt,” Schenn elaborated. “The main goal is to try to be better all around—a little quicker, a harder shot. I think I’ve [improved year-over-year], but I still have a ways to go yet.”
Regardless, Schenn is determined to make a big splash at the Kings’ 2010 training camp in September.
“I’m going to have a good summer, leading up to September,” he stressed. “I saw what it was all about last year and I’m looking forward to it.”
He certainly isn’t the only one.
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i dont mean to be correcting you or anything ….. but i dont ever remember zeus centering our fourth line ………………….. unless maybe he did that first year a long time ago when he was still trying to come back from the knee injury …….. ….. . ………..just saying
He has definitely played at least a few shifts there.
Good article. It sounds like Schenn will be at least another year away but he seems to be developing well. I just hope he is able to properly and fully recover form the ankle injury.
I think Schenn will eventually be the Kings’ #2 center (or #1A). But he’s stuck in that limbo for top prospects – too good for junior but too young for the AHL. Maybe he should play in the KHL for a year? I’m only half-kidding. The level of play would be better than junior (or even the AHL, I think). Don’t know that the Kings would ever consider that, though.
He is certainly stuck in limbo, and this is the exact reason why the age limit rule between the AHL and the Junior clubs make no sense at all. I really do wonder if during the next CBA war that is fast approaching that this is something that the Owners will want to rectify.
A kid like Schenn is a perfect example. He’s physically mature enough to be playing in the AHL and continuing his development, but because of his age, he cannot, so he’s stuck in a league that is obviously inferior for him to be playing in right now.
But, he isn’t (probably) ready to be playing in the NHL just yet.
It may not make sense for NHL teams, but it certainly does for CHL (Canadian junior) teams. This is about preventing the NHL from decimating the CHL.
ho hum ……….absolutely nothing going on
oh my god …. will these people stop with the bobby ryan talk ……………. lombardi dosent do offer sheets ………………….. i mean what planet are these kings fans living on ………….. and a side note ………… people talk about ryan like hes so great – well hes not …………. he was absolutely invisible at the olympics and the only reason he puts up decent numbers is because he is playing with two of the best players in the nhl – getzlaf and perry ……………. there is a reason why the ducks wont give him perry – getzalff type money ……… i realize its also a term thing holding it up ….. but just saying the guy is not even that good ….. kings fans please get over him …… i think its because he made that one 360 spin move against us and quick gave him the goal by going for the poke check, that kings fans think he does that all the time ……. memo to kings fans ………….. he dosent ……….. thats his lone highlight reel goal of his career …….. when hes not playing with getzalf and perry he is pretty much invisible ……………. hes a pretty good player ………………. but definately not someone to be going all ga ga over …………….. and definately not on the same level as kovulchuk , as some insane fans over on hammondds blog are suggesting ………………………………… enough already ……….. aint happening …… and hes not even that good ……. enough
whooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaa ……. savard signed a 7 year extension last december ………. no wonder boston wants to trade him ……………. good player but when this contract starts year one this year he will be 33 years old ………. no thanks bruins, you can keep him …….. bad signing
not to mention he has the ever popular concussion history now ……… no thank you
oh just let shenn center kovulchuk and he will be fine ……. no worries …. lol
the lack of any hockey related news is driving me insane ………… okay gann, goodnight ……. (yeah, i know, i was driven there a long time ago …. i get it )
For the record, you said it, not me. :-)
Some of the information in the piece are inaccurate, but I am not responding because of the errors in dates and other things.
Brayden Schenn isn’t a year away, he’s further away then that if he is going to be a 2nd line center. WHL statistics don’t mean squatt anyplace else but the CHL.
I watched Schenn in the World Juniors and he was slow, clumsey and didn’t show any real impressive finish when he centered a few lines. Brandon Kozun was significantly better then Schenn. Kozun who played with Martin Jones for the Calgary Hitmen, led the WHL in points last season, and he had a pretty significant ankle sprain, which kept him out of the Memorial Cup in most of the qualifying games, and had limited mobility in the Championship game where The Wheat Kings were demolished by Windsor 9-1.
Unfortunetly, Kozun is 5ft 8in, so he is really going to have to prove he can play in the NHL, when and if he gets the chance.
Brayden Schenn was light years away in skill and speed from the recent #1 overall pick Taylor Hall.
I don’t want to make this a Brayden Schenn bashing session, however he might have future potential with the Kings, but he is definetly a work in progress. Schenn still needs to really improve his speed, puck handling skills and scoring touch, if he is to really be considered a #2 line center.
Schenn should be a player very similar to Dustin Brown, and we all know how well Brown has improved season after season, but he’s nowhere close to Brown in regard to skill and consistency. Time will only tell, and I hope Brayden can make the significant improvements needed to play in the NHL with the Kings.
Another year of junior might be the best thing for Schenn, and then either Manchester or Ontario to get used to the jump in speed and skill. There is a significant learning and developmental curve with each promotion from CHL/ECHL/AHL/NHL
If you could point out what you believe to be inaccurate information, I’d be glad to verify and correct.
We need Schenn to get to the NHL asap to be a top six center imo. We truely need another Kopi to center the second line so we don’t have to depend solely on the top line for the majority of our scoring. Stoll nor Handzus are the answer, if Schenn’s not ready yet, I’d like to see us make a trade for a big young center who is ready. I’d like to see us add more size, youth, and grit to replace the older players on the roster like Modin, Smyth, and Halpern.
I think it’s a bit unrealistic to believe that Handzus plays 4th line minutes at a 4 mil cap hit. I believe one of 3 things will happen: 1. Schenn centers the 4th line next season. 2. Schenn is kept in juniors. 3. Schenn earns 2nd line duty and causes Stoll or Handzus to be traded.
I’m betting Schenn is the 4th line center next season.
They won’t keep Schenn with the big club to play fourth line minutes. If he can’t latch onto the second line center spot, they’ll send him back to juniors before he plays his tenth game with the Kings.
look, heres what i think ………………….. it would be in typical kings style to do this kovy thing on wednesday ………. the only day of the year that every major sport is completely silent …… some suggested today, but you know the home run derby is today …… i can easily see the kings having this whole thing orchestrated for wednesday so that they have the news all to themselves , and not only local media , but even espn – since there is absolutely nothing going on that day …… of course an espn quip would last 30 seconds , but those 30 seconds would be more than they do the other 364 days since they have given up on hockey entirely and wont do any news on it sinc they dont have the contract anymore …… pety sour grapes by espn ….. so pety ……. but since wednesday is so slow sportswise, they will probably at least acknowledge the move with a 30 second piece ……………. anyways, id be shocked if this dosent go down on wednesday …………… the kings and kovi and the agent have already agreed …… lombardi and lyweike have told the kovulchuk camp about the wednesday press conference and requested they come out days in advance to prepare and tour the facilities and the rest of los angeles …… anyways, thats my take …………………. we will see on wednesday if i am correct
Clippers of the NHL! I was wondering where you had went.Your typing style hasn’t changed I see.Good for you.lol
holy mother of god, will this ever end …………… i thought i could handle waiting , but since i figured wednesday was the day we would hear a definate yes or no – and yet we still have heard nothing and it appears this will drag on for more days or weeks ……….. youve got to be kidding me ……. i thought i could handle the wait ……… but i cant now …………. its just ridiculous ……… its actually holding up moves all aroundc the league …. ……………. everybody is waiting on kovi so that they can know who their trade partners will be etc…… and the free agents waiting as well ……………. what a mess …………………………………………. and no delusional kings fans, as much as i would love to have patrick sharp instead of kovi (who is cheaper and almost as good – total stud two way player ) its not going to happen …….. sharp is definately part of chicsgod core …………… he aint going anywhere ……… so forget about it
lol chicsgod core ……………… i meant chicagos core ……………. chicsgod …… lol lol lol
hey dom ….. nice chatting with you the other night on waves lil thingy …………… yea, hammond banned me from his site a long time ago because he cant handle any negativity …. he just wants it to be a kool aid sipping party ……………. hammond said your negativity is causing people to start insulting you which u then in turn insult back and i dont want that on here …………….. i told him, thats not my problem people cant debate and choose to insult me instead – thats their problem – not mine ………… and so hes like , yeah well if you wouldnt be so negative all the time then people wouldnt insult you ……. i said ….. like i said hammond, thats their problem – not mine ……. its called freedom of speech …… or having my own brain and thinking for myself ………….. so i said if this is just gonna be a kool-aid sipping site with no room for opposing viewpoints , then i dont wanna be here anyway so f$%k off …….. lol lol ………………… so anyways, yeah gann hates me as well and thinks i dont know crap, but at least he lets me air my views on this pathetic franchise ….. so i respect him for that
I never said that I hate you or that you don’t know crap. What you really don’t know are paragraphs and punctuation! Spelling might be a problem, too. :-)
nah spelling is fine …. thats just typos, because im typing one hundred miles an hour , or dont want to take the time to think of the proper way to spell something ………. im typing too fast getting my thoughts out ……………………………………… but yeah , paragraphs and punctuation, i dont have time for that nonsense ………………………….. im just trying to get my points across before i lose my train of thought cuz ive got a million different things i want to say buzzing around in my head
Lombardi won’t rush Schenn,Look for him to spend another year in junior & get called up to Manchester at season’s end,expect him to center the 3rd line in 2011-12 as Handzus is a free agent,He will then move up to the second line the following year when Stoll is a free agent.