GLENDALE -- And the hits just keep on coming for defenseman Luke Schenn.
If you check Arizona's past two stat sheets you'll find Schenn led all players with nine hits in both games. His season total is up to a career-high 272, which ranks second in the NHL behind only Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki, who has 336.
"That's a key element that he brings to our team," rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun said. "It's huge for us to have a guy like that who can kind of punish the other team's top line and make it a tough night for them. Plus, he's a great guy to have in the room; he's a vocal guy that cares and wants to win. He's definitely a guy I look up to."
Schenn is in the first year of a two-year contract and is excited by the team's future. At age 27, he's one of the older players on the team, but he feels he still has room to grow as a player and he'd like to do that in Arizona beyond his current contract.
"I've really enjoyed the opportunity I've been given and the quality minutes I've gotten to play," Schenn said. "I'd love to be part of what's happening here. We've got such great young talent. When I signed here that was my hope, to prove myself and be part of things here beyond two years. On this team I'm viewed as a veteran, but I'm only 27 years old. I feel like I've still got a lot to give and a lot to prove and can bring a different element to the back end here."
Schenn has provided the Coyotes with a strong physical presence in front of their net and in the corners. When he has the puck, he tries not to overcomplicate things.
"'Schenner' plays hard minutes and he plays a real heavy game for us," said Associate Coach Jim Playfair, who manages the team's defensemen. "That's still an important part of the game and teams need heavy and hard type of players like that. When he's being physical and pounding on players and hitting people, he's a more engaged player, he gets more pucks to the net, he gets more first passes made out of our zone and he's harder to defend against. I think that's' where the game starts for him, by being physical and getting good hits in there."
Schenn has played in all but four games this season. He's been paired mostly with Chychrun and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
"It's a different experience, but they've both got really good qualities that make it enjoyable to play with them," Schenn said. "OEL is a real solid puck mover and competes real hard, and I think we've learned to play well together and communicate well with one another. And Chychrun, his skating ability is so effortless and powerful. It's incredible how young he is. He continues to get better each game. I've really enjoyed playing with both of them."
Schenn was drafted fifth overall in 2008 and he jumped right from the draft to the NHL as an 18-year-old. He's already played 639 games with four teams. His hit total is a whopping 2,047 - 3.2 per game. Furthermore, no defenseman has been credited with more hits than Schenn during his time in the NHL. Brooks Orpik is a distant second with 1,964.
Shane Doan absorbed a few of Schenn's hits during his time with Toronto, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. He's glad Schenn is a teammate now instead.
"He's a hard-nosed guy that's hard to play against and he doesn't get as much credit as he probably deserves for making plays with the puck," Doan said. "He's been really good for us. It's hard to find people who can do what he does physically and still be effective, and he's capable of doing it."
Schenn also has blocked 125 shots this season and is just one of two NHLers with at least 200 hits and 125 blocks. Edmonton's Adam Larsson is the other.