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Schenn To Remain With Leafs

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Coach | Schenn | Stajan | Kaberle | Kubina | Pony

Luke Schenn is staying with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Best get used to the idea. It'll be this way for a long time.

  Leafs head coach Ron Wilson Monday confirmed the 18-year-old Schenn would not be returning to the Kelowna Rockets.

"I said if he was one of the top four defencemen on our team he would play," Wilson said. "He’s easily in the top four."

A junior-aged player can play nine games in the NHL before his contract kicks in. Schenn’s ninth game will be Tuesday as the Leafs host the Tampa Bay Lighting.

As Wilson is fond of saying, this is not brain surgery.

"We played in Detroit, he was one of the best players on the ice," he said. "We played Anaheim in here, he was one of our best players. He’s been our best defenseman, defensively, in almost every game. That’s good enough for me."

Schenn has a rating of minus three and his emphasis on defence will auger against flashy plus-minus numbers. More telling is his average ice time of 21:24, second overall for rookies.

Schenn obliterated any traces of doubt in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Ottawa. He fought Chris Neil after the Ottawa tough guy seemed to low bridge Matt Stajan, cleaned up his own end all night and was named the game’s number one star.

Schenn looks like he would consider a disposable razor as a long-term investment. He sounds like an 18-year-old kid when he talks about the experience of being a teenaged Maple Leaf.

"It’s pretty cool to be around the guys. It wasn’t too long ago, I’d be watching the Toronto Maple Leafs on TV and I’d see some of these guys like Curtis Joseph and Kaberle and guys like that. To be playing with them is pretty special but once I’m on the ice I don’t ever think of my age."

Wilson sited the experience of the Leafs staff in saying Toronto was the best place for Schenn to develop.

"We’re talking over 100 years of (playing and coaching) experience. Why wouldn’t you want that for an 18-year-old playing in the league?

Nor does Wilson think things will get harder for Schenn down the road.

"I don’t think he’ll face a tougher stretch of games than the one’s he’s faced," Wilson said. "Look at all the tough teams in the East we’ve played. I think he’s passed with flying colours."
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