Three Reasons Why Luke Schenn Will Earn A Big Raise

Luke Schenn is in line for a big raise

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:

Development

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.

Supporting cast

The Maple Leafs log jam 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+ points, but with the likes of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, Kris Versteeg and possibly Nazem Kadri up front, the 6-foot-2, 215 pound Schenn shouldn’t lack offensive numbers this season.

Contract 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 2009-10, 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 lukas@gacksports.com and follow him on Twitter @lukas_nhl.

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Fight Breaks Out At Maple Leafs Training Camp

Toronto Maple Leafs

Things are already heating up at the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp.

After watching teammate Carl Gunnarson get hit from behind by tough guy Jay Rosehill on Saturday, Michael Liambas decided it was time to take matters into his own hands, by dropping the gloves with Rosehill. According to the Canadian Press, the fight lasted about 15 seconds while teammates gathered around to watch the spirited tilt.

“Nobody got hurt and it showed that we’re pretty intense in practice,” coach Ron Wilson said. “For some guys they have to do it in a scrimmage because they’re not going to get into exhibition games.”

This coming after Wilson told his players not to fight at training camp.

After being invited by the Maple Leafs to the team’s rookie tournament last week, Liambas was a late addition to the team’s training camp. According to Wilson, “he’s a very long shot.”

“He’s done everything we’ve asked him, he pays attention, he works in practice and he’s been physical without going over the top,” Wilson added.

If Liambas doesn’t make the Maple Leafs, there is still a possibility that he could play for the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, also located in Toronto.

“There’s some options, yeah,” said Liambis. “We’ll see what happens. I’m not trying to think about any of that stuff right now. I’m here, I’m in the moment and I’m going to do as best as I can.”

The 21-year-old Liambas was suspended by the Ontario Hockey League for the remainder of the 2009-2010 season last October, after leaving Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ben Fanelli lying on the ice with a fractured skull.

Liambas played in 124 regular season games in the OHL before his junior career ended. In those 124 games, he scored just five goals and eight assists, while tallying 357 penalty minutes. He was never drafted by an NHL team.

**You can contact Lukas by e-mail at lukas@gacksports.com and follow him on Twitter @lukas_nhl.

Kaberle’s Father Speaks Out

Tomas Kaberle

Tomas Kaberle may be staying quiet about his situation with the Maple Leafs and coach Ron Wilson, but his father certainly isn’t.

In an interview with Czech hockey magazine Hokej (via Toronto Sun), the elder Kaberle, Frantisek Senior, said he’s surprised that his son is still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I cannot image how he will get along with coach Wilson, who relies primarily on aggression and stress. That’s not Tomas, he’s a technical type of defender,” said the former member of the Czech national team. “I think that during the course of the year he will be traded to another club. There is only one chance for Toronto to get something back in return for Tomas now. In my opinion, I can’t see Tomas entering a new contract with the Toronto. Not if Ron Wilson continues to be employed there.”

Tomas Kaberle was not traded by Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke before his no-trade clause was reinstated on Sunday, August 15th.

Frantisek Sr. also talked to the magazine about the possibility of Marc Savard becoming a Maple Leaf.

“The problem is his health. He suffered a concussion last season and there is the possibility of a similar blow to his head and it could even end his hockey career. In this regard, such a trade for Toronto would have been very risky,” said Kaberle Sr., who also believes that NHL superstars no longer want to play for the Maple Leafs.

“I have been following Toronto for a long time,” he said.  “I didn’t believe it much in the beginning, but it seems that the best players don’t want to go to this club. The reason is because of the huge pressure from the fans, and especially the media. Not every hockey player is able to deal with it.”

He does, however, believe that his son can put up with the large amount of pressure put on Maple Leaf players.

“I think that Tomas won’t even comment on (trade possibilities) anymore,” he said. “He is content in Toronto with both the club and the city. I still think though that some change would be welcomed.”

Frantisek Kaberle Senior has a lot of hockey experience. Not only did he play for the Czech national team, but he also coached in the elite league in the Czech Republic.

The 32-year-old Tomas has spent his entire career with Toronto, scoring 80 goals and 402 assists. He is known as one of the best defenceman in the National Hockey League but has been listening to trade rumors about himself for the last two years.

Lukas can be contacted by e-mail at lukas.bib@gmx.com. Follow Lukas on Twitter @lukas_nhl for breaking sports scores, news and rumors.