During the 2017 NHL Draft, the St. Louis Blues traded forward Jori Lehtera, the 27th overall pick and a conditional first-round pick in next year’s draft to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Brayden Schenn. Blues fans rejoiced at the thought of Brayden Schenn centring the first line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. The only thing Blues fans seemed to be worried about was Schenn’s reputation for scoring the majority of his points on the power play and not as many at even strength.
Brayden Schenn’s Impact On the St. Louis Blues
Now, 37 games into the regular season, Blues fans are still rejoicing at the Brayden Schenn trade. Schenn leads the team in goals, assists and points. Schenn already has 17 goals, 23 assists and 40 points in 37 games with the Blues. Only four of those 17 goals were power-play goals and 11 of those 40 points were power-play points. Schenn has helped lead the Blues to a record of 22-13-2. This record is especially impressive considering the injuries that have plagued the Blues this season including Schenn’s linemate Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, Robby Fabbri, Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Steen.
Schenn has also helped his linemates Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz produce this season. Tarasenko is second on the Blues in goals and tied for second in points on the Blues with Schwartz. Schwartz is second on the Blues in assists and tied for second on the Blues in points. This line had incredible chemistry and will hopefully have the same chemistry when Schwartz comes back from his injury in a few weeks. With Schwartz injured right now and Vladimir Sobotka playing in his place, this line has not been quite as productive. However, Schenn and Tarasenko still remain the Blues top two forwards this season.
Schenn has helped the Blues strong possession game. He is at 55.6% Corsi this season, while also being a +5.9 Corsi relative to his teammates. He is also at 56% Fenwick, with a +4.7% relative to teammates. These are easily the best numbers of Schenn’s career. He is also at a 72.73% goals for and a 54.8% xGF. While this indicates that his offensive numbers are slightly overperforming the analytics, even if they regress a little, he is still controlling the play and a legitimate first line centre.
Schenn taking over as the Blues top centre has had other effects on the Blues line-up. Paul Stastny is now more comfortably slotted into a second line role. He no longer faces the other team’s top defenders on a nightly basis. With 25 points in 37 games, the 31-year-old is on pace for his best season since joining the Blues as a free agent in 2014. The ripple effect has also benefitted players like Sobotka, and Steen.
Brayden Schenn’s Career
Brayden Schenn was drafted fifth overall in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. He spent most of 2009-10 and 2010-11 in the AHL trying to get ready for the NHL. He played only nine games with the Kings before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011. The Flyers were the first NHL team to really give him a chance. After six seasons in Philadelphia, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 2017. Schenn has 288 points in 470 career NHL games. In St. Louis, Schenn has a chance to break his career high of 59 points.