In his own words, Luke Schenn’s NHL path wasn’t straightforward.
That’s no secret when you look at his career arc.
Now in his 14th NHL season, Schenn has bounced around and seen it all. He was the top-10 draft pick with the high pedigree. He was labeled a bust. He bounced around and floundered with a few different teams before a waiver claim rectified his career.
Since the Canucks claimed Schenn on waivers back in 2018, the rugged defenceman has gone on to win two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning, playing in a combined 82 regular season and playoff games for the best team in the NHL.
Now, back with the Canucks, he’s arguably having his most effective season in nearly a decade.
That’s not lost on Schenn, who spoke to the media on Monday after learning he was the Canucks nominee for the Bill Masterton award.
“Your career, when you start and you come into the league, you're kind of oblivious to what it actually is going to take to have a long career in the league and a lot of people probably dream about it being a straight arc right to the top and finishing out a champion or playing a certain amount of games or years or whatever it takes.
“In reality, most guys have a lot of ups and downs. I think, you know, you gotta figure out ways to...get through it and get stronger out of it.”
Suffice to say, Schenn has figured out how to prolong his career in 2021-22.
At even-strength, the Saskatchewan native has been a reliable, low-event defensive defenceman. His 53.7 Shot Attempts Against per-60 is third-lowest among Canucks defencemen, trailing only Quinn Hughes and newcomer Travis Dermott.
His 26.1 Scoting Chances Against per-60 is also second-lowest among team defenders, behind only Dermott and his 15 games in a Canucks sweater.
On the penalty kill, Schenn and Hughes have arguably been the Canucks most effective pairing. They both have the lowest goals-against per-60 while shorthanded, although they are usually deployed as the second pair behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tyler Myers.
Of course, Schenn and Hughes have been the Canucks best pairing at even-strength as well. That’s obviously in large part thanks to Hughes, but Schenn has to be applauded for slotting in seamlessly beside him as a low-event, responsible defenceman.
Finally, Schenn has brought an old-school, physical element that’s becoming harder to find in the NHL. Physicality is still a part of the game, and the Canucks lack guys who bring that edge.
Among Canuck skaters, only Will Lockwood is hitting more guys per-60 than Schenn. And, no Canuck has come close to Schenn and his seven scraps so far this season. Kyle Burroughs is next with three fights.
While he won’t win the Masterton, Schenn has asserted himself as a warrior for this team, and someone who can still make an impact at the NHL level.
"I still wanna be in Vancouver and be a part of a winning team here. There's no question I wanna play in Vancouver beyond my current contract."— Sekeres and Price (@sekeresandprice) April 25, 2022
- #Canucks defenceman Luke Schenn on his future. Presented by @vancanadians
S&P ➡️ https://t.co/00QgMfMfTa pic.twitter.com/TVIoqCL1hM
Here are the 32 nominees for the 2022 Bill Masterton Trophy
Anaheim — Ryan Getzlaf
Arizona — Andrew Ladd
Boston — Jake DeBrusk
Buffalo — Kyle Okposo
Calgary — Chris Tanev
Carolina — Antti Raanta
Chicago — Dylan Strome
Colorado — Jack Johnson
Columbus — Justin Danforth
Dallas – Tyler Seguin
Detroit — Marc Staal
Edmonton — Kris Russell
Florida — Anthony Duclair
Los Angeles — Blake Lizotte
Minnesota — Jared Spurgeon
Montreal — Carey Price
Nashville — Mark Borowiecki
New Jersey — Nico Hischier
NY Islanders — Zdeno Chara
NY Rangers — Chris Kreider
Ottawa — Anton Forsberg
Philadelphia — Kevin Hayes
Pittsburgh — Brian Boyle
St. Louis —Vladimir Tarasenko
San Jose — Brent Burns
Seattle — Jaden Schwartz
Tampa Bay — Alex Killorn
Toronto — Ondrej Kase
Vancouver — Luke Schenn
Vegas — Jack Eichel
Winnipeg — Josh Morrissey
Washington — Nicklas Backstrom