With hype comes expectations and Brayden Schenn has been under the microscope since arriving in Philadelphia. His production, or lack thereof has been the subject of much speculation, evaluation, and outright criticism. Its unlikely that Schenn's 20 goal, 41 point season has served to alleviate any of the present concerns or satisfy the sky high expectations. Now that the regular season is over and we have a full season of scoring chance data, it might be beneficial to revisit Schenn's scoring production.
Even Strength Production:
Relative to his teammates, Schenn is a clear step below first line players like Giroux and Voracek. Despite this, he isn't out of place in the Top-9 at 5v5. His production has been directly comparable to other forwards on the Flyers who have seen Top-9 minutes this season.
League Ranks ESP:
If we widen the comparison, and look at his ranking league-wide Schenn fairs similarly well. Once again, he's a step below the top-tier scorers, but he's falls right in line with some respectable scorers and is even out producing some big names at 5v5.
Can he create scoring chances?
Luckily we have a full season's worth of scoring chance data for the Flyers this year and we can look at Schenn's underlying ability to create quality scoring opportunities. In particular we can look at INV/60 which sums together all of the potential primary assists(set-ups) and potential goals(chances) that Schenn has been credited with this season.
Schenn ranks 4th on the entire team, a respectable number. These numbers at the very least suggest there might be untapped potential in Schenn's game. And we know that at least in this season sample, a player's underlying ability to get involved in scoring chances correlates very strongly with his ability to produce points. The Flyers as a team could score a more at 5v5 but that is indicative of team wide issues with puck possession, and a decimated defense since the loss of Chris Pronger and Matt Carle. A rising tide lifts all boats and vice versa.To understand this we can compare the Flyers success in Fenwick Close% and their success in 5v5 goals for/against in the last 6 years.
Schenn, and his teammates, would all produce more at 5v5 with some help on the back-end.
PP Production is the Root of the Problem.
Where Schenn definitely lags behind his teammates, and some of the better scorers in the league is power-play production.
In fact, he's only potted 9 points on the PP all season. The Flyers 1st unit power-play has been a bright point all season long, but the 2nd unit has been dramatically less successful. Improving that unit as a whole would go a long way towards getting the most production out of Schenn. Now that we've reached this conclusion, we need to starting asking some different questions. Schenn is currently used as a front of the net presence on the 2nd unit. Could Schenn succeed in on the 1st unit in place of Simmonds or Hartnell? Or could he be used on a different role on the 2nd unit PP? We may never know if he doesn't get a chance to be that guy.
Whether or not Schenn sees increased opportunities on the PP may make or break his ability to meet the lofty expectations of being a 60+ point contributor.