I think Brayden Schenn might be the most Canadian hockey player that ever lived. He's big , not exceptionally fast, has great hands, passes well, shoots well, and hits and fights without hesitation. He's kind of like someone 30 miles down the highway, actually. Schenn probably won't end up being that good (although I sure hope so), but even then I think he'll be a great NHLer someday, I really do.
There was all sorts of intrigue heading up to today's draft, probably more than any I have ever seen. There were rumors, whispers and innuendo leading up to Snow's march up the podium, and yet not much really happened. I had mentioned the two biggest possibilities I saw for the Kings: either they would trade for Dany Heatley or they would trade back with Toronto to pick #7. Neither happened. Rumor from the Ottawa side insinuates that the Senators wanted Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson and the 5th overall. Hohoho, OK.* I haven't heard yet what Dean wanted from Burke to trade down, but I imagine it was a lot. So, the Kings just drafted Brayden Schenn and Toronto burned.
*Dustin Brown isn't getting traded for at least 4 years. It doesn't really matter who it's for, either. He's a 30 goal scorer who hits like a Mac truck and is the captain of the team. Oh, and he is actually underpaid. He's not going anywhere.
So now that we have Schenn, what should we expect from him? First, don't expect him in LA next year, or maybe even the year after that. The Kings' center position is pretty much set 'til then: Kopitar, Stoll, Handzus, Boyle/Lewis. That's a good thing. Brayden Schenn is going to go through Dean Lombardi's School of Hockey, where prospects move up slowly and not without effort. Two years ago, Schenn probably would be playing next year. Now? Probably not. Stoll and Handzus are pretty great "bridges," as Dean likes to say, and can hold the fort until the time that Schenn and Lewis are ready. When Schenn is ready, Handzus can move to a wing and Stoll can drop down to the 3rd line, which is where he probably belongs.
The common consensus is that Schenn is one of the more finished products in this draft, but I don't really agree. Though big (6'0", 196 lbs.), he was rated as below average in both upper and lower body strength. He dominated the OHL with his physical play, and the common consensus was that he couldn't do that in the NHL. I'm not so sure. I think Lombardi likes to draft guys that are good hockey players but haven't had much physical training, so that when they do get that conditioning they are ready to go. It's a good strategy, I think. I look for Schenn to go back to Junior, get bigger, work on his shot, and lead Team Canada to another Gold medal in the World Junior Championships next year. (Dammit.)
Oh, and hey, this is cool:
Kings Line-up, U-25
That defense gives me a boner. Rebuild's over. Let's get us a cadillac this Wednesday.