ST. LOUIS - As Day 1 of the NHL Draft began to wind down, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong was just getting started.
After selecting Robert Thomas with his first pick of the draft (No. 20 overall), Armstrong made two major trades, one of which was the acquisition of Brayden Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Jori Lehtera, a first-round pick (No. 27) and a conditional draft pick in 2018.
Schenn spent six seasons with the Flyers. He has scored 20 or more goals in three of his last four seasons and has posted 55 points or more in back-to-back seasons.
"He's got huge character," Armstrong said after the trade. "That was one of the things that attracted us to him."
Now that training camp is here and Schenn has gotten somewhat settled into St. Louis, we sat down to get to know him better. Below is our Q&A:
BLUES: The trade to St. Louis happened suddenly and somewhat late in the evening. Where were you when you got that news and how did you find out?
SCHENN: I was in California on a golf trip. We watched picks 1 through 10, then missed 10 through 20. All of a sudden, my phone started blowing up a little bit. That's how I found out.
BLUES: You spent six seasons with the Flyers, which is certainly enough to make Philadelphia feel like your home. What were your emotions after learning you were leaving?
SCHENN: I think any time you get traded or shipped out or whatever, you have mixed emotions. I'm excited to be here in St. Louis. They have a great team, a great group of guys and everyone that plays here loves it. Once you get to know the city a little bit more and more, the better it is. Coming to a competitive team also makes it more exciting.
BLUES: You said over a Facetime interview in the summer that you were familiar with Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen and Jaden Schwartz already. And you played for Blues Associate Coach Craig Berube when he was behind the bench in Philadelphia. Has being familiar with some of the Blues made your transition to St. Louis easier?
SCHENN: Yeah, it makes it easier. I lived with Schwartzy for 3-4 days right when I got here. When you're living with a teammate, you're hanging out with them away from the rink and you get to know them quicker. It's been a lot easier getting to know guys, and the guys have been very welcoming from Day 1.
BLUES: For Blues fans who haven't followed the Flyers or the Eastern Conference much, what can you tell them about the player they're getting?
SCHENN: I'm a guy that can play center and wing, and try to be good in both ends, chip in offensively and try to bring a physical element as well.
BLUES: Well speaking of the physical element, you're no stranger to dropping the gloves. You don't see that out of many Top 6 forwards that often.
SCHENN: I won't classify myself as a tough guy or a fighter by any means, but it has to be done sometimes. It's part of the game and I don't mind doing it. I'll get in a few fights throughout the year. I don't go looking for fights or anything like that, but sometimes they happen.
BLUES: Last season you scored 17 power-play goals, which was tied with Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov for the League lead. What made you so dynamic with the man-advantage last season?
SCHENN: I think it was just the power play in Philly. Everybody was on the same page. With (Jakub) Voracek, (Wayne) Simmonds, (Shayne) Gostisbehere - we all had some pretty good chemistry. For me, I worked hard down low and got the puck in the other guys' hands. Then just go to the net and try to find the garbage and the rebounds.
BLUES: It can't hurt your power-play production to have guys like Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, Robby Fabbri, Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko here.
SCHENN: This group is just as good. There was skill in Philly and there is tons of skill here. For me, it's just about finding ways to gel and find chemistry with those guys and see where I fit in on the power play here.
BLUES: We've learned you're a big food guy on the road. You've been in St. Louis for a few days now - have you tried Imo's Pizza, toasted ravioli or been to Ted Drewes yet?
SCHENN: Schwartz pointed Imo's out to me, but I haven't tried it. No toasted ravioli and no Ted Drewes yet. Leading up to training camp, I try to keep it tight (laughing). Actually, my body fat test is over so maybe I can treat myself a little more now.
BLUES: What music would we find if we searched your phone?
SCHENN: I like everything. I know that's a generic answer, although being from Saskatchewan, we really like country music.
BLUES: What are your expectations - both for yourself and for the team - for the upcoming season?
SCHENN: I think the team is close to winning, so just trying to take that next step as a team. They're right there and close, and it's going to be a tough division next year, but they have the right pieces to take that next step forward. Personally, in the beginning, I was just wanting to come in and fit in. I'm trying to find who I'm going to play with and where I'm going to play, so it's too early for me to throw (personal) expectations in there. We'll see as it goes here.