One-on-one with Flyers captain Claude Giroux
Brayden Schenn scored eight goals in 47 games last season. (AP)
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – General manager Paul Holmgren was able to tie up one loose end ahead of the season when he signed Matt Read to a four-year, $14.5 million contract extension (see story).
That’s good news for Read, who kept no secrets about wanting to remain with the Flyers. But for Brayden Schenn, the one remaining key forward whose contract expires at the end of this season, the future remains in question.
“I kind of figured [my contract status] would come up sometime soon,” he said. “But for me, I’m just going to go out there and worry about the season, not worry about the extension or the contract situation – just focus on my game, focus on the team, and not worry about contract talks.”
Schenn, 22, has a $3.1 million cap hit this year, the final year of his entry-level deal. Unless he is signed before the conclusion of this season, he will become a restricted free agent next summer.
He has had two up-and-down seasons with the Flyers since being traded to the team in 2011. He had eight goals in 47 games last season, and 12 goals in 54 games the year before, but hasn’t yet taken the big jump forward that the team – and its fans – are looking for from him.
Schenn knows he needs to improve, both in terms of production and consistency. He is setting goals for himself this season, but not tangible ones.
“No numbers or anything like that,” Schenn said. “Just to be consistent. Whether it’s scoring a goal one night and having a physical impact in the game on another, just be consistent, and that’s going to help the team win hockey games. No numbers, just want to work on being consistent and getting more work each night.”
That’s exactly what coach Peter Laviolette wants to hear. To Laviolette, there are “peaks and valleys” in every young player’s career, but those who are able to eventually level out are the players who become most successful.
“I would agree with that,” Laviolette said of Schenn’s desire to focus on consistency. “He’s a talented guy. I think last year there were some ups and downs for him. He’s probably looking to come back with that consistency that makes him a good two-way physical forward that can produce some offense for our team.
“For him to mention consistency is probably a pretty good place to start. He’s had some good games for us, I think when he becomes more consistent for us, he’ll be more of a factor for us and counted on more.”
This is a make-or-break year for Schenn, whose future with the Flyers likely depends entirely on how he looks throughout the course of the season. If he can remain healthy and produce, and he steps into the role that he’s been projected to fill since he arrived in Philadelphia, he could earn a big payoff.
He’s knows that to be true, but it won’t be on his mind once the Oct. 2 season-opener rolls around. When he’s on the ice, Schenn said, he’s all business.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Schenn said. “I’m not going to be worried about [my contract status] right now.”