Speaking of older journeymen defencemen who have proved to be good mentors for the Canucks’ young players, how about Luke Schenn? A former fifth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Schenn has bounced around from six different teams in his NHL career.
When he was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks mid-season along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for Michael Del Zotto, Canucks fans were more focused on the pick that was coming the Canucks way in the deal, more than they were the player involved in the deal.
Schenn was playing with the Ducks AHL affiliate the San Diego Gulls, at the time of the trade, and reported to the Utica Comets immediately after the trade. In Utica, Schenn worked hard and earned a call-up to the Canucks after Tanev went down with another injury. When he was given another NHL opportunity, Schenn absolutely ran with it.
With his solid play, Schenn drew the attention of not only fans who were, #DrunkOnSchenn, but also management. GM Jim Benning said that the Canucks would try to get Schenn re-signed this summer and bring him back for next season. When the trade happened, I’m sure Benning didn’t expect Schenn to step into the NHL lineup and have the impact that he did. Really, Schenn’s play was probably the best case scenario.
Schenn was sticking up for the Canucks young stars so much to the point where if an opponent even breathed on one of Hughes or Elias Pettersson while Schenn was on the ice, they’d be hearing about it from Schenn. He quickly became a fan-favourite at the end of last season, and is proving to be a good pickup by Benning — who knew?
Brogan Rafferty was signed out of the NCAA along with goaltender Jake Kielly. Rafferty’s signing came after the signing of another NCAA free agent defenceman, Josh Teves. Teves only got to see one game of action this year, but because Rafferty was signed so late in the year, the team wanted to get a look at him, so they threw him into the lineup before he got much time to get situated with his new team.
In the two games that Rafferty played, he looked good. He was responsible defensively, and moved the puck well. Rafferty even ended up on the ice at the same time as Quinn Hughes for a short period of time, and the two bounced the puck to one another as though it was on a string. Expect Rafferty to come into camp next year and challenge Schenn for a roster spot.