With puck drop in the 2013 NHL Season underway, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves sporting another hockey brother duo. Brayden and Luke Schenn join Rich and Ron Sutter, Joe and Jimmy Watson, Larry and Wayne Hillman and Kimmo and Jussi Timonen as brothers to play together in the orange and black. The Flyers will rely heavily on the pair from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to fill a void in scoring and defence.
To start the season, Brayden will anchor the Flyers top line opposite Scott Hartnell, centered by Claude Giroux. He has to be salivating at the chance to play with Giroux this season. Hartnell scored a career high 37 goals last season with help from Giroux’s wizardish playmaking ability. Brayden will look to step in for Jaromir Jagr, lost to free agency, on one of the most explosive lines in the league last season. This opportunity is perfect for the highly touted fifth overall pick in 2009.
A concussion and broken foot last season restricted Brayden Schenn to a more defensive role in the line-up down the stretch but showed flashes of his offensive potential in key points including the playoffs. He scored his first NHL goal in the Winter Classic against the New York Rangers. In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brayden took over the game after the Flyers fell behind 3-0. Not only did he hit everything on the ice in a Penguins’ jersey, he scored the game tying goal in the third period which led to an overtime victory.
His grit on the ice is something he needs to continue doing if he wants to be successful this season. Late last year, Brayden seemed to get in the head of the entire Penguins team after pushing Captain Sidney Crosby in the back at the end of a shift. This led to a brawl and subsequent coach versus coach shouting match between Peter Laviolette and Pittsburgh coaching staff. This was not the only meltdown Philly would see from their neighbors out west. In Game 3 of the same ECQF series, Schenn threw a monstrous hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin which led to a crosscheck to the neck and mugging by Arron Asham. This sort of play from Brayden Schenn will open up the ice for his linemates and lead to power plays. If he can do that this season, he will be effective on the Flyers top line.
Brayden’s older brother Luke was acquired during the offseason from the Toronto Maple Leafs for winger James van Riemsdyk. With the uncertainty of Chris Pronger’s playing career, it was a move the Flyers had to make to bolster the blue line. Playing four full seasons in Toronto, Luke never really lived up to the hype of being a top five pick for Leafs fans. A change of scenery could benefit him greatly. As a stay at home defenceman, Luke’s game will be something the Flyers could build off of in the future. Like his younger brother, Luke likes to use his body to finish off forwards. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, he led all defenceman in hits.
Luke Schenn will be paired up with veteran Kimmo Timonen to start the season. Even though Timonen might have lost a step in recent years, Schenn could gain valuable experience from Timonen which benefited Braydon Coburn when he played with Timonen. Even the simple fact that Schenn is a right-handed shot will be an asset for the Flyers; something they have needed for so long. The Flyers hope that Luke will be able to eat up minutes on both 5 on 5 and the penalty kill filling the much needed hole on defence.
Now with both Schenns playing for the same Flyers team, will Atlantic Division rivals be terrorized for the next couple years?