Luke Schenn has shined in a shutdown defenceman/enforcer role for the Vancouver Canucks, and he deserves to be rewarded for his efforts.
Schenn reported to Utica, and it’s safe to say that Canuck fans never really expected him to develop into an impact player here. After all, the No. 5 pick from the 2008 Draft hasn’t morphed into that top-pairing blueliner that most expected.
Why would Schenn suddenly go from afterthought in Anaheim to a quality shutdown blueliner here in Vancouver?
Well, it’s been a short sample size, but Schenn sure seems like a natural fit on this Vancouver blue line. He’s shined in the role that Benning had hoped for Erik Gudbranson. The latter had too many defensive breakdowns and was simply unable to bring that physicality and shutdown role to Vancouver.
Schenn has thrown his weight around and has been the intimidating force on defence that the Canucks have lacked for a few years now. In 15 games with the Canucks, Schenn has 71 hits and 23 blocked shots.
And of course, nobody will forget Schenn coming into the defence of blueliner Quinn Hughes in the latter’s made his debut against the Los Angeles Kings last Thursday.
You take all of this into account, and it leaves Benning with an easy choice to re-sign Schenn on a cheap one or two-year deal. In fact, Benning said the team would “look into” an extension for Schenn, per Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.
The Vancouver defence will look a lot different next season, especially if they don’t manage to re-sign Alexander Edler. Both Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton could be playing their final games with the Canucks, too.
Schenn has performed well above expectations in Vancouver. He’s the physical force they need on the blue line, and Schenn is doing everything he can to ensure that Hughes’ transition to the NHL is a smooth one.
Re-signing Edler and Schenn — while Hughes continues to develop his game — could make this Vancouver blue line much more formidable next season. With that, giving Schenn a new contract should be at the top of the Canucks’ offseason to-do list.