Better With Popcorn

Schenn is developing right before your eyes

At the start of January, every one was buzzing about Schenn.

Practically every fan of the Philadelphia Flyers was discussing how big of an impact he was going to have on the team. His size, his strength, his potential up side; the sky was the limit for this young NHL star of the future.

The only snag in the situation was that he was still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As 2011 quickly turned to 2012, much of the talk was about Luke Schenn, the brother of Flyers forward Brayden Schenn. Linked in trade rumors involving James van Riemsdyk, many believed that it was only a matter of time before the elder Schenn brother would be a member of the Flyers.

In terms of Brayden, well, the jury still was out on him.

Displaying that injuries were a very real concern with the 20-year old forward, some started to question if the hype around the ‘best prospect in all of hockey,’ was indeed just that.

After starting the year in the minors and then missing the majority of the first half with a broken foot and then a concussion, Schenn began regularly appearing in the Flyers lineup at the end of December.

With the exception of his first career goal, Schenn didn’t display much to win over the majority of the fan base. In reality, more people were interested in talking about his brother.

As time wore on though, Brayden began to emerge as the more exciting of the two.

By the middle of the month, he was still struggling to produce points. He lacked cohesion with any particular line and failed to define a role for himself on the offensive juggernaut that was the Flyers at that time.

Instead of wallow in the agony of his struggles, the younger Schenn did the smartest thing he could have done; he started to hit everything that moved.

Standing out as a physical presence, he displayed why so many praised him as a future star. Not only did he throw the body, he also completely destroyed his opponents in the process.

All one has to do is watch the replay of his huge open-ice hit on Boston Bruins defenseman, Steve Kampfer for proof of that.

From there, his physicality led to offense.

In the eight games after the All-Star break, very few members of the Flyers looked to be playing their best. Schenn was one of the few who shinned brightest.

Scoring five goals in those eight games, he and line mate, Wayne Simmonds, consistently looked like the best players on the team.

With seemingly every other component of his game coming together, defense was the one part that had yet to stand out.

That changed on Tuesday night, when the Flyers visited Winnipeg to finish out their season series with the Jets.

With the game tied at three at the beginning of the third period, Schenn arguably made the best save of the game (at that time) when he hugged the post, stacked his legs (similar to how a goaltender would stack their pads), and kept the puck out of the net.

He even topped the play off by getting up, controlling the puck and clearing the crease himself.

It was probably the most impressive display seen from the young forward this season, which is saying a lot considering how well he has played.

Watching Schenn’s development this season has been a joy.

Coming into the organization with so many expectations, he has clearly shown why those expectations were in place. Not only does the Saskatoon native possess natural physical abilities that give him the potential to be great, but he also has the hockey IQ to match.

While many may have been excited by the prospects of adding his older brother, it’s safe to say that every Flyers fan is now completely focused on the potential of Brayden.

--

Follow me on Twitter (@mattbrigidi) and make sure to "like" The Checking Line-Flyers Edition on Facebook to stay up to the minute with all the latest team news and notes.

Feel free to shoot me an email: mattbrigidi@thecheckingline.com