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Luke Schenn on his return to the Leafs: “I couldn’t have gone to a better spot”
9 months ago
The Leafs will have plenty of decisions to make regarding their pending free agents, and one of the most intriguing ones is whether or not the team decides to hold onto Luke Schenn.
Toronto’s fifth overall pick in the 2008 NHL draft made his return to his original team leading up to the trade deadline after he was acquired from the Canucks in exchange for a third-round pick. He appeared in 15 games to close the regular season before playing in all 11 playoff games.
Schenn impressed many with his strong showing alongside Morgan Rielly, with the two arguably being their most important pairing and played a factor in the Leafs getting past the first round for the first time since 2004. That impressive performance has put him high on the fan’s list of pending free agents that should get an extension before he hits the market on July 1st.
While it is unclear how this will play out, Schenn provided some insight into his preference when he spoke with Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali — The Team this morning.
The million-dollar question that is on both Leafs and Canucks fans’ minds right now is simple: will he want to return to Vancouver or is his second stint with the Leafs going to last a bit longer?
“I’ve always enjoyed my time in Vancouver, obviously that’s why I signed there a second time,” he said. “Obviously a passionate fanbase, I’ve always been treated really fairly by the fanbase, by the media and the organization’s great.”
“I loved my time in Toronto as well too, and that’s who I’m under contract with for the next little bit. But looking back on my career, I definitely had some great memories in Vancouver and it’s always been a special place to me, being a Kelowna guy in the summertime and following the Canucks and being the team in BC where everyone follows, it’s been a special place, but who the heck knows what their plans are and obviously like I said, I really enjoyed things in Toronto and we’ll see where that shakes itself out first.”
Schenn went on to mention that he felt the Canucks were set on the right side, headlined by Ethan Bear and Filip Hronek, and got the sense that Vancouver was looking to both clear up some cap space and get younger.
He sounds like a guy who is open to a return to the Canucks if it became available, but has no clue what the team is thinking of doing and is thus focused on what the Leafs plan on doing with him. This bodes well for Toronto’s chances of keeping the 33-year-old defenceman on board for the foreseeable future.
Given that he had to be mindful of his family of four and his wife expecting a child leading up to the deadline, Schenn credited the Canucks for making sure he got put in a good situation and had nothing but positive things to say about how he was treated by the Leafs after the trade.
“I couldn’t have gone to a better spot as far as my family getting taken care of,” he said. “Kyle Dubas was unbelievable in helping and making sure everyone was taken care of, and their assistance to just make sure everything was lined up, and they kind of really took the stress off things.”
Speaking of Dubas, the fallout from his exit from the organization last week has definitely had a ripple effect on what was already an uncertain summer for the Leafs. Regardless of how you feel Brendan Shanahan handled things and whether or not moving on was the right decision, one thing that is apparent is that things are going to change for the Leafs.
Schenn was asked about the debacle and while he has no insight into how exactly things went down behind the scenes, he understands that business is business.
“Everyone knew going into the end there that his contract was up,” he said “I don’t think that was any secret in terms of what the media knew about it and obviously people within the organization.”
“I was grateful for how I was treated personally. I think after the trade deadline, he put a good team on the ice and if you were to look at our roster compared to anyone, he would have put ours up against anyone. So I think he did a good job. But in saying that, the business side, it gets in the way from a player’s standpoint, a coach’s standpoint, management standpoint. There’s always the hockey side of things and there’s the business side of things. Obviously, that didn’t work itself out and who knows where it will end up.”
“But Brendan Shanahan has been around the NHL for a long time too, and is a very smart hockey man and he knows what he’s doing. And obviously, I just hope it works out for everyone involved. At the end of the day, everyone’s really good people and understand the game and how to treat people and it’s a good culture there.”
No matter where things go from here, it’s hard to deny that Schenn would garner quite a bit of interest after coming off a great 2022-23 season. Let’s hope that it ends with the Saskatoon native staying with his original team for the next little bit.
Here is a video of the full interview with Schenn:
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