Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Brayden Schenn has been "Schenn-sational" at every level thus far in his career.
He's taken home MVP honors from the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships. He's been a first-team All-Star in the WHL. He's won the Piggott Memorial Trophy (WHL ROY). He's won the H.L. Crawford Memorial Medal. He's demonstrated he can score with anyone (99 points in 59 regular season games) and play shut-down defense, all while engaging in the not-so-nice aspects of the game (210 PIM during his WHL career).
His scouting report is a virtual carbon-copy of Mike Richards' and Jonathan Toews'. Scouts of all stripes rave of Schenn's ability to score and lead. They gush about his refined two-way game and attention to the little things on the ice. And they can't stop talking about his willingness to drop the gloves with anyone who crosses him.
For all of Schenn's talent and for all of his potential, the fact remains that he was traded for one of the most beloved athletes in modern-day Flyers history in Mike Richards. The fact remains that the 19-year old Saskatoon native has big skates to fill. And the fact remains that Philadelphia fans are no more patient today than they were three months ago. Patience is, to be blunt, not a virtue many Flyers fans possess.
And that is why Brayden Schenn needs to step up in 2011-2012.
He needs to play with the same fire that Mike Richards once did. He needs to show Flyers fans everywhere that he is ready and willing to take the next step.
I'm not saying that Schenn needs to score 66 points—but he does need to score at least 35. I'm not saying he needs to be a Selke Candidate, but a Calder Candidate wouldn't hurt. But more importantly, he needs to play with a fire in his eyes. He needs to show the team-first attitude he's been lauded for everywhere else in his career. He needs to help Flyer fans forget about the man he was traded for—Mike Richards.
If Schenn can do that, the Flyers will be in contention and Schenn will have earned the respect and loyalty of the Flyer faithful (and he's going to need it).