What is Luke Schenn Worth?

July 5th, 2011 6 Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed two of their four restricted free agents today, inking Clarke MacArthur to a two-year, $6.5 million deal and Tyler Bozak to a two year deal (terms have not been released yet).

The two remaining RFA’s are defensemen Matt Lashoff, who is eligible for salary arbitration, and Luke Schenn, who is not eligible for salary arbitration.

Lashoff looks to be the odd man out on the Maple Leafs blueline. If (and it’s a big “if”) Lashoff is resigned by Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, look for it to be a two-way contract in the $750,000 range.

According to capgeek.com, the Maple Leafs have a total of 20 players locked up for the 2011-12 season at a cost of $55,665,000, leaving Burke with $8,635,000 with which to fill out his roster. These numbers do not include Bozak’s deal and, most importantly, does not include a contract for Schenn.

When the 2010-11 season ended it was thought that signing Luke Schenn to a new contract would be priority number one for Burke. Thus far, no contract has been made and the silence surrounding the Schenn contract has some fans thinking the young defenseman may be on the move.

With rumors spewing over the internet and little information leaking out, one wonders, what will it take to get Schenn signed?

Looking at the Maple Leafs’ current defense corps, Dion Phaneuf is the highest paid at cap hit of $6.5 million, followed by Mike Komisarek at $4.5 million, John Michael Liles at $4.2 million, Carl Gunnarsson at $1,325,000, Cody Franson at $800,000 and Keith Aulie at $733,333.

Schenn’s contract carried a cap hit of $2,975,000 last season. His 22 point season in 2010-11 was the best of his three-year career with the Maple Leafs, both statistically and in terms of his overall game, which was very good.

With so much money being dulled out by NHL general managers these days it’s hard to believe Schenn would be willing to settle for another $3 million deal. More likely, Schenn will be looking for a 4-5 year deal worth at least $4 million per season.

Former Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle signed a three-year deal, reportedly worth $12.75 million with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, while another former member of the Buds, Ian White, scored a two-year deal, worth $5.75 million with the Detroit Red Wings.

Veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik inked a two-year, $7 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens, Cam Barker got a one-year, $2.25 million deal from the Edmonton Oilers, Sheldon Souray got a one-year, $1.65 million deal from the Dallas Stars, Andy Greene scored a four-year, $12 million deal from the New Jersey Devils, Ed Jopvanovski inked a four-year, $16.5 million deal from the Florida Panthers, Jan Heida inked a four-year, $13 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche, Joni Pitkanen signed a three-year, $13.5 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, Andrew Alberts inked a one-year, $2.45 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks, Christian Erhoff signed a 10-year, $40 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres, James Wisniewski inked a six-year, $33 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Andrei Markov signed a three-year, $17.25 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

When you look at all the free agent defensemen that were signed (and the list above  represents most of them), a few things stick out. First, offensive defensemen are garnering a lot of big money contracts. Second, stay at home, one-dimensional defensemen are (in some cases) getting low-balled.

The thing about Schenn is that he doesn’t really fit into either category, so it’s tough to figure out just what he is worth.

Schenn played in all 82 games for the Maple Leafs last season. Health, or lack thereof, has never really been an issue for Schenn, which is a good attribute, but hardly a deal maker in a big-money contract.

Schenn’s 22 points ranked him 78th amongst 303 NHL defensemen, his plus/minus rating of minus-7 ranked him 245th, his 17 assists ranked him 77th, his five goals ranked him 63rd, while his 34 penalty minutes ranked him 124th.

Schenn played an average of 22:22, which ranked him 52nd overall, which included 2:44 (47th overall) on the penalty kill, and 0:59 (139th) on the power play.

Schenn led all NHL defensemen in giveaways with 95 (a not so great title to have), which was off-set a little by his 38 takeaways, which ranked him 23rd.

When you consider the numbers, Schenn comes off as a very average defenseman.

What the numbers don’t tell you is that, despite a minus-7 rating, Schenn was very solid defensively last season. Schenn’s 168 blocked shots ranked him 12th overall, Schenn also led all NHL defensemen with 251 Hits (he ranked eightth overall) which illistrates his tenacity and grit.

In the end, Burke is bidding on a 21 year-old defenseman, who brings an element of grit, the ability to clear the front of the net, a player that can play on your penalty kill (which ranked 23rd in 2010-11 and 30th in 2009-10), who has a limited ability to produce offense and lacks something Burke holds in high regard; “nastiness”.

Despite Schenn’s lack of a mean streak, he is not afraid to mix it up, but I digress.

If not for Schenn’s last deal which paid him upwards of $3 million per season I would slot Schenn right into that level, $3 million per season or possibly $3.2-$3.5 million per. Few players exit restricted free agency making less money than their last term, which probably means Schenn will be seeking a raise.

And perhaps that is why the two sides are yet to hammer out a deal. If Schenn is seeking a multi-year deal in the $4-5 million range Burke has a good case against Schenn that he’s simply not worth that kinda dough.

Is Schenn worth $4 million? Perhaps. But when you stack him up against some of the other defensemen that are making $4-$5 million per season Schenn often comes up short in the skills department.

Dustin Byfuglien ($5.2 million cap hit), Mike Green ($5.2 million cap hit), Chris Pronger ($4,921,429 cap hit), Kevin Bieska ($4.6 million cap hit), Joni Pitkanen ($4.5 million cap hit), Dan Hamhuis ($4.5 million cap hit), Jack Johnson ($4.35 million cap hit), Robyn Regehr ($4,020,000 cap hit), Mark Streit ($4.1 million cap hit), Christian Erhoff ($4 million cap hit), Marc Stall ($3,975,000 cap hit).

All of the aforementioned defensemen arguably offer up a much better skill set than Schenn, most of which you’d be happy to trade for Schenn.

Then again, when you look at the $4.5 million cap hit that fellow Maple Leaf Mike Komisarek comes with or the likes of Francois Beauchemin ($3.8 million cap hit), Keith Ballard ($4.2 million cap hit), Ron Hainsey ($4.5 million cap hit) and so on, it’s hard to look Schenn in the eyes and say he isn’t worth the same or more, especially in the case of Komisarek, who was an absolute bust for the Maple Leafs the past two seasons.

Maybe that’s why Burke has been stockpiling defensemen? Perhaps the two sides will never come to an agreement? Perhaps the negotiations between Brian Burke and Luke Schenn will end in Schenn being moved for a top-six forward?

At this point, anything is possible. One thing is for sure, in the eyes of some, Schenn deserves a raise. In the eyes of others, Schenn was overpaid to begin with and should expect similar monies or a reduction in salary.

So I ask you Maple Leaf fans, what is Luke Schenn worth???

Got a comment? A story idea? Contact me at theslapshotpucktalk@gmail.com

Until next time,

Peace!

6 Comments

  1. Big G says:

    I like Luke Schenn, you ‘gotta’ like a guy who throws that many hits wearing Blue & White, however, his tenacity level seems to have dropped some last season. I can’t recall the last time he dropped the mitts to defend a team mate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he should fight all the time, but when he started with us, man, if you run one of our guys, lookout, he was right there in your face! Maybe our beloved…lol…Wilson told him to stop, I often wonder. All that said, I think $3.75per over 4 years would be reasonable. If he asks for more, he might have to get it in a different uniform.

  2. Danny Piller says:

    I believe Luke Schenn is the best defenceman now and for the future that the Leafs have and Burke would be a fool to let him go. If he wants a $4m per season then looking at the wages of the rest of the team he would have under valued himself. If McC\rther is on $6m per year I think that Schenn is worth the same. He is the face of Toronto Maple Leafs loved by the forces and civilians alike and he should not be allowed to leave

  3. MarkRitter says:

    Thanks for the comment!

    First, MacArthur’s cap hit comes in at $3.25 million per season, not the $6 million you have listed. Schenn is a good defenseman that can block shots and make hits and he is steady defensively. That said, he does nothing exceptional and, while his work ethic is good, he is not a beast by any means.

    I said all along that if Burke could get a top-six forward for Schenn I’d jump at the chance. Nobody wants to see Schenn leave, but with so much depth on defense, it would appear as if Schenn may be the only bargaining chip that can bring the Leafs what they really need- a number one centre. See my latest article on the possibility of moving Schenn and why Burke could do it.

    Cheers!

  4. Schu says:

    Scott Hartnell, Erik Gustafsson

    Flyers get a Right handed d-man for the future.

    Leafs get a top 6 forward and another very good prospect.

  5. MarkRitter says:

    The Leafs look to be pretty comfortable with the wingers they have. Kulemin, MacArthur, Lupul and Kessel represent the Leafs top four wingers. If Hartnell was a centre he might fit the bill as a stop-gap until Kadri or Colborne are ready, but as a winger he’d only muddy the waters. Schenn would be a nice fit in Philly, but Burke would have wanted Richards or Carter in return and that ship has sailed. Thanks for the comment! MR

  6. trade schenn for a top six forward would be the best thing burke did. whats the problem ?

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