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Luke Schenn might not win Masterton, but he’s won over Canucks fans

The 32-year-old has had his best NHL season in nearly a decade.

St. Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks
Luke Schenn: Model by day, body thrasher by game night.
Getty Images

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.

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