Just be patient.
That’s a phrase that echoes all too well with Philadelphia Flyers fans. That’s also a phrase that we’ve heard so many times when it comes to Flyers forward Brayden Schenn.
It’s starting to look like that patience may pay off.
Before the season even started, I said in my preview that Schenn was the player with the most to prove this season. That stems from high expectations that haven’t come to fruition since he came into the NHL as an 18-year old, and since he became a Flyer at 20-years old. Through the first few games of this season (and dating back to the last games of the 2014-15 season), Schenn looks as if he may finally have turned a corner.
Through his seven games played this season, he has four goals and an assist. That’s 13 points in his last 13 games, dating back to last season, three of which have been multi-point efforts. If you put things into context, it looks even better.
Schenn left one of the games this season in the second period due to injury. He followed up by missing the game against Boston, and then coming back with a very solid game in which the Flyers beat the New York Rangers. He actually had an assist taken away from him on Scott Laughton’s goal, but it was Schenn’s hard work along the boards that allowed the play to happen.
It’s also interesting to note the aside from leading the team in goals, he leads the team in shooting percentage, at 28.6 percent.
Of course, there is always two sides to the story, and the other side of all of this, is that Schenn has been a notoriously streaky player. After scoring 17 points in his first 23 games last season, he went quiet for a large part of the second half of the season, until those last few games where he looked like one of the best players on the ice.
The good news?
That play transitioned over from last year, and wasn’t lost.
It’s mutually important for Schenn and the Flyers that he produce. The Flyers need him desperately. Last season, in case anyone forgot, the Flyers had a power play that operated near the top of the league. The problem with that was most of the scoring came from the top power-play unit. The second unit was lifeless and rarely scored. A scoring Schenn will take a lot of the heat off the first power-play unit, and the first line in general.
For Schenn, the importance is huge. He is in a contract year, and although restricted, his production will definitely be the difference between arbitration or a long-term deal with the team.
It’s early on in the season, but he has shown consistency dating back to last season, a string that we haven’t seen out of him yet. He’s finding himself in the right spots, and making better decisions on the ice. If he keeps up the great play, you might just be witnessing the breakout of Brayden Schenn.