What’s Luke Schenn Worth?

Luke Schenn needs a new contract and this late in the game it’s incredibly unlikely he won’t be a Toronto Maple Leaf at the start of training camp. He’s a guy that Brian Burke loves: he hits, he fights, he blocks shots and he’s apparently a good kid in the locker room if you’re into that sort of thing.

What odd is that the rumors swirling around have Luke Schenn earning almost $4M per season and that seems pretty high given Schenn’s skillset. Defensive defensemen are generally fairly underrated. Mike Komisarek got $4.5M to be a big shutdown guy in Toronto (ignore that he actually sucks, he was a premiere free agent). Francois Beauchemin got $3.8M to be a shutdown guy. Anton Volchenkov got $4.25M in free agency. All of those guys were unrestricted free agents and while I understand paying for potential the reality is you need to put the squeeze on your RFAs.

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I pulled a list of comparables for Luke Schenn. My criteria were:

  • Aged 19-24
  • Between their first and third season in the NHL
  • 1700 minutes played in the season
  • Between 15 and 25 points

A list of Luke Schenn’s recent comparables:

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  Yr Age G A Pts TOI Contract Value ($M)
Zach Bogosian 2010 19 10 13 23 1734 2011 2.5
Dan Girardi 2009 24 4 18 22 1765 2010 3.325
Dan Hamhuis 2007 24 6 14 20 1728 2006 2
Duncan Keith 2006 22 9 12 21 1898 2006 1.475
Zbynek Michalek 2006 23 9 15 24 1872 2006 1.25
Marc Staal 2009 22 3 12 15 1733 2010 3.975
Average 2008 22 7 14 21 1788 2008 2

How do Schenn’s numbers stack up against the average?

  Yr Age G A Pts TOI
Luke Schenn 2011 21 5 17 22 1834
Average 2008 22 7 14 21 1788

This feels like a reasonable comparison except for the fact that the cap has gone up. In 2008-2009 the salary cap was $56.7M as compared to the current $64.3M, a 13.4% difference. $2,000,000 plus 13.4% is $2.26M per season although I think Zbynek Michalek and Duncan Keith’s numbers are extraordinarily low. I’d pin Luke Schenn’s worth on a three year deal somewhere between $2.75M and $3.25M. The truth is $4M gets you a big name guy. Hamhuis’ contract last summer was worth $4M. Ehrhoff’s cap hit from this summer is $4M.

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It takes a lot for a d-man to crack the $4M barrier: he needs to be a recognized, elite UFA, Norris candidate, or just score a lot. I love Luke Schenn as a player but I just don’t see his pricetag being that high.


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  • Whoops. Looks like Chemmy doesn’t know the difference between a RFA and a UFA.

    Interesting how you limit the criteria. Intangibles? Hits? Blocked shots? Individual performance relative to team performance? Guess the concept of being open-minded is something that will take you some time.

    Keith was coming off his first full year. Same with Michalek. Hamhius and Girardi both spent a number of years in the AHL before playing for their respective teams. I’m also unclear on how why you’re using Bogosian as a negative contrast, when you’re, in fact, expounding on all the reasons why Schenn is purported to be getting 4M per year.

    Key word: Consistency. That’s what the Rangers paid for when signing Staal. It’s also the very reason why Keith got 1.475M in the first place – inconsistency and lack of upside.

    As I said before: Put Schenn in front of Lundqvist and there’s no question of who’s the better defensive defenseman between Schenn and Staal.

    What’s also conspicuously lacking in your grade five analysis is that none, save for Bogosian, reached the NHL in their draft year. And only Schenn has produced upwardly – in small and steady increments.

    Staal’s contract is absolutely the perfect basis of which Schenn can compare himself too. Both were RFAs. Both have limited offensive upside. Both are considered one of the leaders of their respective teams. Both were drafted in the first round. But only one was able to stick in his draft year.

    Do the math. Enjoy.

  • Danny Gray

    I agree with the article. I don’t agree with Chris. The math is quite simple if you look at Schenn’s corsi numbers. He gets a ton of offensive starts.

  • Danny Gray

    Yes. CORSI. Stringing together the quantity of categories to determine quality.

    Fantastic stat to measure quality by. Maybe we should mix in a little Fenwick, a little Calculus, a little Physics. Just to complicate and confuse the generally apathetic mass that don’t have a clue why something as fantastic as CORSI can’t explain away the difference between a shot and a scoring chance.

  • Chris has rewritten his first comment at least three times and still can’t avoid revealing that he doesn’t understand what we’re talking about.

    Chris, I hope you find a hockey community that values your contributions because I assure you that we don’t.

  • “Put Schenn in front of Lundqvist and there’s no question of who’s the better defensive defenseman between Schenn and Staal.”

    “Staal’s contract is absolutely the perfect basis of which Schenn can compare himself too. Both were RFAs. Both have limited offensive upside. Both are considered one of the leaders of their respective teams. Both were drafted in the first round. But only one was able to stick in his draft year.”




  • SkinnyFish

    wait, I’m not done.


  • Here’s another way of looking at it that backs up Chemmy’s point:

    I find comparing contracts over the years is easier when we break down how much % of the cap it took up in the year it was signed. Because the cap changes you can’t look at pure dollars (which Chemmy didn’t pretend to, although I don’t think his methods was as accurate as it could have been).

    Here are those figures for the comparables mentioned:

    Bogosian – 3.88%
    Girardi – 5.60%
    Hamhuis – 4.55%
    Keith – 3.35%
    Michalek – 2.84%
    Staal – 6.69%
    Average – 4.48%

    So if we use the average amount of cap space these deals took up and apply it to Schenn, the figure we get is $2.88 million. That’s higher than the figure Chemmy cited as Schenn’s “worth”, but right in the ballpark of his estimation of what Schenn would get, which I believe is fair on a short-term deal.

    I’m sure Schenn’s agent tried to use Staal as a comparable, which is why the negotiations dragged on as long as they did. Based on the comparables, this contract is quite high, which Burke certainly knew and didn’t want to match.

  • SkinnyFish


    But you just don’t get it. Luke Schenn was so good that he was able to stick in the NHL his rookie year, at 18 where he was competing with such notable NHL veteran defensemen as Jeff Finger, Jonas Frogren, Phil Oreskovic, Anton Stralman, Jay Harrison, Ian White, and Jaime Sifers.

    No way a guy like Duncan Keith, Zach Bogosian, or Marc Staal could beat out guys like that for a roster spot.

    • The site holds any comments with swears in them automatically. I’m guessing that’s where they are.

      I’m also guessing you’d get a better reception here if your arguments weren’t peppered with snide rhetoric and insults. The point of comments, of course, is to have discussion particularly when folks disagree.

      Things tend to go off the rails either when trolls appear (not you) or when ardent fanboys take personal offense and come in, spittle flying, to protect the objects of their affection (probably you).

      Comparables are a tricky game. As is projecting future contributions by kids. For every Duncan Keith, there is a couple of Komisareks. There is therefore lots of room for disagreement – even vehement disagreement. As long as it’s reasonably presented.

  • I can delete or edit anything you say. If I was blocking your comments so that you “couldn’t win” it probably stands to reason I’d have edited the lengthy rant you already posted.

  • I’d be more open to Chris if he demonstrated that he understood what we are talking about.

    His battle cry that I don’t understand the difference between UFA and RFAs, based on my pointing out that defensive d-men don’t make much more than $4.5M as UFAs as an upper bound, is thoughtless and boring.

    Chris contributes nothing because he can’t contribute anything. He literally doesn’t grasp the fairly simple logic at play here.

    • Ha! so he’s one of my good friend’s best friends from childhood. He’s a good guy.

      I was surprised to see him skip out on the NHL to go to Switzerland but it was no surprise that he came back in Carolina under Paul Maurice. He was the guy that gave him a shot in Toronto before he broke his hand, Maurice got canned, and his lifelong dream turned into a nightmare.

      Having said that, Schenn at 18 was already better than him.