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Schenn excited to be in Kings' court

by Eric Stephens
Brayden Schenn undoubtedly had an eye on possibly joining his big brother Luke with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Los Angeles Kings weren't about to let that happen.

The Kings spoiled a potential reunion by using the No. 5 pick in the NHL Entry Draft to take the 17-year-old center from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. It was the same pick the Leafs used last year to take Luke, who stepped right into the lineup in Toronto.

After receiving congratulations from Luke and the rest of his family at Montreal's Bell Centre, Brayden Schenn said he looked forward to joining the Kings.

"It was no disappointment at all," he said of going to Los Angeles after becoming the younger half of the first brother combination to go in the top five in back-to-back years. "I am happy to be with the L.A. organization. I am a King now so I can't worry about the Toronto thing. That is behind me."

Leafs GM Brian Burke had plenty of reasons beyond kinship to want the younger Schenn.

In 70 games with Brandon, the native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, scored 32 goals and 56 assists for 88 along with 82 minutes and an impressive plus-20 rating. Schenn was outstanding in the postseason, totaling 8 goals and 18 points in 12 playoff games. He also earned a reputation as a standout two-way player with the kind of game that can succeed in the playoffs -- something the Kings haven't made since the 2001-02 season.

"The No. 1 attribute for Brayden is his competitiveness," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said during a conference call. "He's a playoff-type player. This is a kid who hurt his shoulder against the Calgary Hitmen in the playoffs and he refused to quit. And you talk about a competitor … that's pretty attractive."

Lombardi compared Schenn to Mike Ricci, a 16-year NHL veteran who scored 243 goals and 605 points in 1,099 games.

"I think the biggest thing he needs to work on is his skating," Lombardi said. "But his hockey sense is top-notch. He has the ability to make those small, smart, little plays and has no fear going into traffic. He's a real competitor and I think he's got a chance to grow into some leadership."

Schenn agreed with the experts' assessment of his two-way game.

"I am a forward who has some grit and I see the ice pretty well," he said. "The main thing is that I play physical. I bring an all-around game."

Schenn said he was nervous and that no team really tipped its hand during the process but he added that he's seen how recent Kings' draft picks are developing within the organization.

"I have watched Drew Doughty play and obviously he is a great player," he said. "Thomas Hickey is a guy I have played against, along with Colton Teubert. Those are three guys I know pretty well.

"I pay close attention to all the teams in the NHL and I know a lot of the players with L.A. I am happy to be with the organization."

Schenn said he is preparing for the Kings' summer development camp but has no expectations about where he will play next season.

As far as any advice from Luke, Brayden said one piece of guidance offered was "to be ready for camp."

"It is a big difference going from the junior ranks to the pro ranks," Schenn said. "You also never know what they are going to throw at you or what you should expect."

There were rumors before the draft that the Kings would be willing to move the pick, perhaps to a team that wanted to move up. But in the end, Lombardi said he was very happy with his selection.

"It really got quiet at the end of last night," he said. "I knew early on I couldn't move up. And then it was a question of moving down and the offers to move down were not enough.

"Maybe two years ago, it would've been attractive to acquire more picks, but I think now we're at a different stage and it makes more sense for us to take what we feel is the better player."

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