EL SEGUNDO --
|Ryan Smyth has been a "father figure" to young Brayden Schenn.
When Ryan Smyth looks at Brayden Schenn, he sees a 19-year-old Canadian kid, and a former high first-round pick who cut his teeth in the junior-level Western Hockey League.
In other words, Smyth sees a lot of his former self in Schenn.
Given, also, that both players play a hard-nosed forward role, it’s no surprise that they have gravitated toward each other a bit, the veteran Smyth taking Schenn under his wing a bit and showing him the ropes as Schenn prepares for his first NHL season.
It’s not quite a "paternal" situation and it’s not quite a "big brother" situation either. Uncle Smytty, perhaps, given the 15-year age gap between the players?
In interviews, Schenn frequently references Smyth as a player he tries to emulate, on and off the ice, and it’s no accident that when Schenn moved into the Kings’ main locker room this week, his locker was directly to the left of Schenn’s locker.
"With the experience I've gained over the years, I'd like to try to give back anything I can," Smyth said. "With the hard work in practice, sometimes you don't have to say much, but the things that you do can rub off. We've had a few talks. I like his style.
"I like his compete level. I see that the puck doesn't die with him a lot of times. He continues the play, and that goes a long way. I remember coming into the league my first year, and I looked up to a few guys, like Luke Richardson, Kelly Buchberger, Doug Weight, and just took a few things from them. If I can give him anything, that's great."
As role models go, Schenn picked a good one. Smyth broke into the NHL at age 19 in 1995 after being drafted No. 6 overall by Edmonton in 1994 and after a successful four-year run with Moose Jaw of the WHL. Two years later, in his first full NHL season, Smyth scored a career-high 39 goals.
Schenn, who turned 19 in August, was selected No. 5 overall by the Kings last year. He still has one season of junior eligibility remaining but will have a chance to stick with the Kings in the role of fourth-line center.
Smyth, who knows what it’s like to play in the NHL as a teenager, said his advice to Schenn is centered on keeping things simple.
"You have to do what you do best, and bring what you have brought to other teams to get you where you are right now," Smyth said. "That doesn't change.
Sometimes it's watching and observing other players, and sometimes it's taking initiative. The thing with him is, he's willing to do those types of things.
That's going to give him long-term longevity in this league, for sure."
Schenn made his NHL debut last November during a one-game recall, and is now coming off a strong training camp in which he showed a solid two-way game, plus the ability to play on special teams.
Schenn has scoring ability -- he had 34 goals in 59 games last season -- but it’s his grit that might allow him to stick with the Kings in a fourth-line role.
"Playing junior, I guess you play on the first line, power play, things like that," Schenn said. "Here it's obviously a little different, but I'm happy to play whatever role. I'm just not satisfied being here. I want to make an impact on the team, one way or another. Whatever they want me to do, I'll try to do it.
I'll just take it day by day. If I get in the lineup or not, I'll just try to get better day by day. That's the focus." THE FINAL 23
The Kings’ official season-opening roster will include Schenn plus fellow rookies Kyle Clifford
, Trevor Lewis
, Andrei Loktionov
, Jake Muzzin
and Kevin Westgarth
. Official Release
| Projected Lineup
| Media Guide
| RosterClick here
to listen to Jonathan Bernier
talk about making the Kings on NHL Home Ice. Scott Parse
and Ray Kaunisto
, who suffered injuries during training camp, will start the season on injured reserve, while Matt Greene
, Marc-Andre Cliche
, Colten Teubert and Viatcheslav Voynov, who never officially participated in training camp, will star the season as non-roster players.ROCKING WITH THE KINGS
In an all-star match up, Pandora, the leading personalized radio service, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League announced the launch of a highly targeted and localized advertising campaign “Be Part of the Pride,” starting Wednesday. Click here
for more. LOOKING FORWARD
The Kings are scheduled to practice at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.