He has been tagged as the franchise player by many, and it may be just about time to give him the contract that fits that label.
With two full National Hockey League seasons under his belt, 20-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn is no longer short on experience, and with the way he has been playing, it may be about time that he earns a hefty raise, whether it's with the Maple Leafs or not.
Here are three reasons why Luke Schenn has a good shot at receiving a lucrative contract come July 1, 2011.
Both of those years, he has been learning from a coach with a great reputation in Ron Wilson. Not to mention the likes of Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Tomas Kaberle, and Dion Phaneuf.
When Phaneuf came to Toronto, he made everyone around him better. Now that he is captain, he will be expected to continue doing exactly what he was, which means great things for the development of Schenn.
The Maple Leafs logjam on defence has been well documented by the media, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing, especially for Schenn.
As long as he makes the team, which seems more than likely to happen, he will have a great supporting cast to work with, only helping him to play better and become a better defenceman, both on the defensive side of things and the offensive side.
Leafs forwards, meanwhile, should help the normally stay-at-home defenceman rack up the points and assists. Now, that doesn't mean that you should expect Schenn to put up 30-plus points, but with the likes of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, Kris Versteeg and possibly Nazem Kadri up front, the 6'2'', 215-pound Schenn shouldn't lack offensive numbers this season.
The native of Saskatoon will be entering his contract year in 2010-2011, which could mean either great or bad news. Sometimes players thrive when they are in the final year of their contract, knowing that a big season could earn them a hefty raise come July 1.
Some, however, are the exact opposite, as they try to do too much, ultimately forcing them to make poor decisions on and off the ice.
Schenn has had two good seasons in the league, one of them was outstanding considering that he was a rookie in a hockey mad Toronto market. In 2009-2010, his statistics improved drastically. Scoring five goals (three more than his previous total of two), and 12 assists for a total of 17 points (three more points than his previous total of 14), his second season was nothing short of impressive.
Schenn's gritty and tough style of play has made players all over the league aware of when he's on the ice, something that every team wants from every single one of its players.
With the way he has played in his first two seasons, all signs point towards a good, if not great contract season for Schenn.
So just how much money and how many years should he receive? Well, we'll just have to wait and see how this season goes for the young NHLer.
You can contact Lukas by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @lukas_nhl.
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