Brayden Schenn: Disappointing but still valuable

by Eric Daoust on June 23, 2015 | (0 Comments)
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  • Brayden Schenn: Disappointing but still valuable

 

Brayden.Schenn.6.23

 

Don't count out Brayden Schenn's multi-category production on draft day

 

 

Background

 

Brayden Schenn was selected with the fifth-overall pick in the 2009 draft by Los Angeles. As he wrapped up his junior career, his stock rose immensely especially in the prospect rankings at this site. In fact, Schenn made his way up to the #1 spot in the prospect rankings. In June 2011, prior to making the jump to the NHL, Schenn was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers in the trade that sent Mike Richards to the Kings. The trade had major implications as Richards would go on to win two Stanley Cups out west.

 

 

Four-year NHL career

 

In four full years, Schenn has become a very respectable NHLer. However, he has not become the star many have been waiting for. Instead, Schenn has settled into more of a secondary-scoring role. While he did achieve a career-best 47 points this year, it is still well short of fantasy poolies’ expectations, especially those that invested in Schenn in keeper leagues. So what does the future hold for Schenn? Here are his NHL stats following the trade to Philadelphia:

 

Season

GP

G

A

Pt

+/-

PIM

SOG

Shot%

PPG

PPA

Hit

Blk

TOI/G

TOI-PP

2011-2012

54

12

6

18

-7

34

97

12.4

4

1

136

26

14:06

1:41

2012-2013

47

8

18

26

-8

24

79

10.1

2

8

109

22

15:30

2:24

2013-2014

82

20

21

41

0

54

178

11.2

4

5

200

37

15:44

2:11

2014-2015

82

18

29

47

-5

34

156

11.5

7

12

199

38

17:04

2:59

Career Total

274

58

76

134

-22

146

521

11.1

17

26

660

125

15:37

2:20

 

 

Red flags

Often times, the fourth year represents a big step forward for many talented young forwards. This was indeed the case for Schenn who increased his 2013-14 point total by 14%. The concern, of course, is that his expected point increase still leaves him short of the 50-point mark, let alone the lofty expectations placed upon him.

 

While having his best year to date in the NHL, Schenn saw significant increases in both ice time (17:04 – fifth among Flyers’ forwards) and power play utilization (2:59 – fourth among Flyers’ forwards). Clearly, his utilization shows he is being used like a second-line forward.

 

With that said, he did see a lot of time on the top line next to star center Claude Giroux. According to Frozen Pool, he played nearly half of his shifts at even strength alongside the Flyers’ captain. Still, seeing the top line this frequently should result in a better offensive output. After all, from a fantasy perspective the opportunity does not get much better than this.

 

From a broader perspective, Schenn has never been a high-volume shooter. His 1.9 shots per game this year were virtually even with his career average despite playing a much greater role than in the past. His shooting percentage has also been very normal since day one, indicating he has never been a victim of poor shooter’s luck.

 

 

Taking the next step

 

Of course, there is room for improvement. As mentioned, Schenn’s ice time has not been optimal to date. An increase of 10 percent would put him close to the 18:35 breakout winger Jakub Voracek logged this year. Such an increase would no doubt have a positive impact on Schenn’s point total.

 

While spending time on the Giroux line helped, he still played less than half of his even strength shifts there. The biggest potential increase would come from becoming a more exclusive member of the top unit. As we saw with Voracek, developing chemistry on Giroux’s wing can lead to some bloated offensive numbers.

 

With new coach Dave Hakstol being hired this offseason, the utilization of some players will change next year. Schenn has a great opportunity to impress in training camp and further increase his ice time. But Schenn will not be the only candidate for the job with Wayne Simmonds, Michael Raffl and Matt Read also in the mix. Unless someone can grab a firm hold of the spot, the Flyers’ top left wing spot will once again be a revolving door which is not a formula for Schenn to take the next step.

 

Even though Schenn has plenty of opportunity to improve his point totals in the years to come, it is difficult to picture him having a great offensive upside. Sure, more minutes and more shifts on the top line would help but is far from a guarantee.

Schenn has not forced the team’s hand and simply has not shown many signs that a major points increase is imminent. It could very well be a case that what we see is what we get.

 

 

Multi-category league value

 

When looking at Schenn’s career numbers, we can see he has strengths that translate well to multi-category leagues. In particular, his 19 power play points and 199 hits are impressive. But how does Schenn rank in multi-category leagues where many different types of depth players can thrive? Here is a breakdown of where Schenn ranks among forwards according to Fantasy Hockey Geek in the following four leagues using this year’s stats:

 

Points-only: PTS
Yahoo Standard: G, A, +/-, PIM, GWG, PPP
Dobberhockey Experts: G, A, +/-, SOG, PPP, HITS
UHL: G, A, +/-, PIM, GWG, SOG, PPP, SHP, HITS, BKS, FOW

 

 

Setup

Rank(F)

Points-only

87

Standard

62

Experts

39

UHL

84

 

 

In the Yahoo Standard and Experts leagues Schenn ranks much higher than in points-only. These two leagues have fewer categories which make the hits and PPP more impactful. In leagues with fewer categories Schenn’s strengths are not featured as heavily and his more ordinary categories bring down his overall value. Regardless, he is still a very valuable fantasy contributor.

 

Based on these four leagues Schenn is at worst in the top 90 forwards to own. In the vast majority of shallow leagues this makes him a good depth forward option. In deeper leagues he is a strong secondary producer to compliment your star forwards.

 

 

Final thoughts

 

Clearly, Schenn has not yet been able to live up to some lofty expectations that were set by his draft position and dominance in junior hockey. Still, he has established himself as a strong NHL player, both in real life and in all fantasy hockey formats.

 

While he may have disappointed many fantasy managers that invested in him early and have been hanging on for years, he is still a player that can make your squad better. In fact, now that he is losing his luster as a prized prospect and future star, his trade value is coming back down to earth. This could present some opportunities to acquire Schenn at a lower price than in past years, in some cases at a bargain rate if his owner is getting frustrated. Disappointing does not necessarily mean useless. In a league where scoring is scarce, Schenn’s 47 points made him a valuable asset this year.

 

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