FanPost

Brayden Schenn's Potential

 

The consensus NHL comparable to new Flyer Brayden Schenn is old Flyer (ew) Mike Richards. They are both 2-way centers that have tremendous leadership ability, a physical game, and can light up the score sheet. Richie has been slightly under PPG for the majority of his veteran NHL career. His junior numbers predicted his offensive success in the NHL, as junior numbers usually do. If this is the case then why are people saying that Schenn's upside is Mike Richards? Brayden Schenn scored at a 1.52 points-per-game clip as an 18-year-old in the WHL and
registered an astounding 1.97 PPG the following year (which ended roughly three months before his 20th birthday---yes he is still only 19). Richards on the other hand topped at 1.53 in the year where he started as an 18-year-old and turned 19 during the February of that season only to dip back down to 1.3 PPG in his final junior season. After the jump check the side by side comparison of the old and new Mike Richards in their pre-NHL days.

 

 

 

Mike Richards

 

Brayden Schenn

 

Variance

 

League

Age

Year

Games

Points

P/G

 

Year

Games

Points

P/G

 

Points

P/G

World Junior Tournament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WJC

18

2004

6

5

0.83

 

2010

6

8

1.33

 

 

0.50

WJC

19

2005

6

5

0.83

 

2011

7

18

2.57

 

 

1.74

Major Junior Hockey Career

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O/WHL

16

2002

65

58

0.89

 

2008

66

71

1.08

 

 

0.18

O/WHL

17

2003

67

87

1.30

 

2009

70

88

1.26

 

 

-0.04

O/WHL

18

2004

58

89

1.53

 

2010

59

99

1.68

 

 

0.14

O/WHL

19

2005

43

58

1.35

 

2011

29

57

1.97

 

 

0.62

First AHL Season + Playoffs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AHL

20/19

2005

14

15

1.07

 

2011

12

11

0.92

 

 

-0.15


Before you check out the numbers, know that Mike Richards was born on 2/11/1985 and Schenn was born on 8/22/1991. That means that Richie was slightly over six months older than Schenn for every one of those seasons. So during Schenn's first AHL season (last year) he was still 19 at the end of the year whereas Richie played the entire second half of the year as a 20-year-old.

So let’s break down the two guys league by league starting off with the World Junior Classic. As 18-year-olds they each played 6 games and Schenn had 8 points to Richie's 5. Mike didn't improve as an individual the following year, although he did captain team Canada to a gold medal. Brayden Schenn, however, did improve, and that’s an understatement. Before last Christmas if you checked out the WJC Canadian record book you would see that the record for points in one single tournament was 17---set by Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros (they were pretty good, eh?). If you check it now, you’ll see the new record is 18, set by Brayden Schenn. I know Geoff, sample size, but those numbers are pretty overwhelming no matter what the sample is. No, he didn’t captain the winning team, but he was an alternate for the second best team (Canada lost to Russia in the gold medal game) and put up a goal and an assist in the championship.

Now if we check out their junior careers we see a very similar pattern as far as who projects better offensively. As a rookie in the OHL, Mike Richards scored at a .89 PPG clip, improving to 1.3 and then 1.53 before falling back to 1.3 as a 20-year-old. Brayden Schenn never had a WHL season under PPG status and managed to improve every year. The improvement is the most telling thing to me because not only was it substantial, it was consistent---with increases of 14%, 25%, and 15%. The fact that he never plateaued means that he may still have some legitimate room for improvement.

The AHL numbers don’t really mean much to me because of the limited body of work. All of Richie’s games were played in the playoffs on a stacked team that won the Calder Cup. Schenn played 7 regular season games (7 points) and 5 post season games (4 points) on a slightly above average team at six months younger than Richards. You can take that for what it’s worth but I figured I’d just throw them on the chart.

I am not saying Brayden Schenn is going to have 50 points this year or be a hall-of-famer or do this or do that. This post was merely meant to challenge the idea that Schenn’s upside is Mike Richards because that is just false. The sky is the limit offensively for Brayden Schenn. Giroux will draw the top competition down the line and hopefully Sean Couturier can develop into a third stud center for us and be able to share the load with Schenn and Giroux. With that said Mike Richards was always the best defensive center we had so he naturally matched up against the top competition. He will be missed in that role and Brayden Schenn will struggle if that is the role he’s given. Schenn is the top prospect in the game---bar none. Mike Richards could never say that. Richie was the 24th overall pick, Schenn was the 5th. I think that the comparison between Richie and Schenn is spot on---less the offensive upside. If Brayden Schenn can develop his physical game, his defensive game, and his leadership ability to even close to what Richie brings to the table, then his offensive game will bridge the gap---and some. Do I love Mike Richards still? Absolutely. Is Richie a better player than Schenn right now? Without a doubt. Can you honestly look at the two player’s stats, side-by-side, and say that Schenn’s potential is Mike Richards? No.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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