Would you deal Schenn for Pavelski?

Steve Lansky
April 15 2011 10:52AM

This morning, on Toronto sports radio, the question came up, “Would you trade Luke Schenn for Joe Pavelski?” I almost drove off the road. Then, to sink the dagger even further, both the boneheads behind the mics said, “Yes, I would.” I had to pull over and take some deep breaths. Schenn for Pavelski? Are they nuts?

Frankly, I don’t even know where to start with this insane notion. Let’s begin with Pavelski. Of course everyone is excited about Joe right now. He had a fantastic Stanley Cup Playoff run last year, scoring nine goals in 15 games. And he popped one in overtime last night v. the Kings to put the Sharks ahead in that series. But Pavelski’s heroics didn’t get the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Sharks past the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final.

This season, after consecutive 25-goal years, Pavelski scored 20 times for San Jose. Ostensibly, he would come to Toronto as the number one centre for Phil Kessel that the media is craving. Let me re-phrase that, that the media is demanding. Leafs’ GM Brian Burke said, earlier this week, that he was content with Kessel’s efforts late in the season. Then, Phil the Phraud went out and declined an offer to play for his beloved USA at the IIHF World Hockey Championship. Some things will never change.

Pavelski’s presence may very well elevate Kessel’s scoring numbers, but at what cost? This season was Luke Schenn’s coming out party in the NHL. Last season, Schenn averaged just under 17 minutes per game. This season, his TOI ranks him right behind captain Dion Phaneuf. Schenn played under twenty minutes in a game fewer than a dozen times. And, now that Tomas Kaberle has been relegated somewhere (anywhere), Schenn is clearly the Leafs’ number two blueliner. And his confidence is building daily. Ron Wilson has shown Schenn that he has faith in him. Is there anything that makes a defenceman play bigger and better?

But, here’s the rub. Why would Brian Burke give away his defensive strength for a small potential offensive increase? Defence gets teams into the playoffs. Defence wins championships. Offence puts butts in seats – something the Leafs do not need to improve upon. Despite James Reimer’s heroics, the Leafs gave up 251 goals this season. That’s not nearly good enough in the Eastern Conference.

The Washington Capitals, for example, only scored six more goals than the Leafs did. That’s right, six! But the Caps gave up 54 fewer. Defence wins conferences.

Sure, it would be great to have Joe Pavelski wearing blue and white – but not at the cost of a key piece of the defensive puzzle.

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Steve Lansky's first exposure to the game was at storied Maple Leaf Gardens, running downstairs at the end of every period just to watch the great Dave Keon walk off the ice to the room. A decade later, while he was still in high school, Oilers' head coach Glen Sather asked Lansky, "Hey, how'd you like to be our team statistician?" In 1983, at the age of 22, Lansky became the youngest producer in the history of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, giving him a front-row seat to the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty. Lansky also helped launch Rogers Sportsnet's fledgling hockey coverage when the network made its début in 1998. You can follow him at bigmouthsports.com and at twitter.com/bigmouthsports
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#1 craig
April 15 2011, 06:00PM
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Spot on man, absolutely crazy talk.

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#2 Pension Plan Puppets
April 18 2011, 09:50AM
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Almost a good post and then you had to add this pointless nugget:

Then, Phil the Phraud went out and declined an offer to play for his beloved USA at the IIHF World Hockey Championship. Some things will never change.

The guy's been over to the Worlds multiple times, he's represented the USA at every level, and he's more than welcome to take a break when he thinks he needs one in order to be in tip top shape for next season.

He's not the first or last NHLer to beg off the Worlds after a long season.

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#3 Rexall Robots
April 18 2011, 10:21AM
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Pavelski for Schenn???? No way, no how. Most ridiculous trade scenario I've heard in a long-time. I think we have all discovered who posts those trade possibilities on HFBoards that make no sense.

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#4 VM
April 19 2011, 03:06PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

PPP, I disagree with your first sentence, but 100% with everthing after that.

Lansky, I'm starting to think you're just a troll/agitator. What I think you should do is, count the number of cliches that you used in this latest article of yours, divide it by one, and then after that, just never write anything again, ever.

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#5 Rexall Robots
April 20 2011, 08:45AM
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WTF??? Is this site dead?

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