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Did Maple Leafs Have Lightning in Mind with Schenn Trade?

When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Luke Schenn, did they have the Tampa Bay Lightning in mind? Is Schenn a response for Tanner Jeannot?

Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded for Tanner Jeannot from Nashville Predators. It’s a significant move for the team, and they paid a lot for him.

What Jeannot brings is his physicality. He has had a remarkably high number of hits (531) over the last two seasons. Obviously, the Lightning plan to gear up for another long Stanley Cup run. They believe that Jeannot might just be a key asset in that playoff run. Although Jeannot had a breakout season in 2021-22, scoring 24 goals and 41 points, his offensive production dropped this season.

Tanner Jeannot Predators Lightning trade
Tanner Jeannot Predators Lightning trade

Still, Jeannot will be a force to reckon with as part of the Lightning’s bottom-six forward group.

Did Toronto Respond to the Jeannot Trade Today?

Yesterday was a busy day for the Toronto Maple Leafs. A number of players were moved out or brought in. I’ll speak to some of the other trades later; but, for now, in this post, I want to address the addition of 33-year-old defenseman Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks.

Specifically, I want to consider the question about Schenn’s potential impact on the Maple Leafs in the playoffs. Specifically, was he brought back to Toronto as a response to the Jeannot trade?

Related: Maple Leafs Cap Situation Indicates Dubas Isn’t Done Yet

Who is Luke Schenn?

Schenn is a solid veteran defenseman with over 760 NHL games of experience. He’s played 14 regular NHL seasons, and he’s known to be a tough defenseman who’ll stick up for his teammates. Over his career, Schenn has always been known for his physical play and toughness. However, he’s also conducted himself with class and professionalism both on and off the ice.

In the video below, co-host of Canucks Talk Thomas Drance joins Ben Ennis and Blake Murphy on The FAN Drive Time to talk about Luke Schenn’s move to the Maple Leafs in return for a 2023 third-round draft pick to the Vancouver Canucks.

What Has Been Schenn’s Impact While He’s Been in Vancouver?

As Drance notes, Schenn has made a positive impression on Canucks fans during his time with the team. He’s achieved a strong following during his time in Vancouver. Drance believes Schenn will be remembered fondly by Canucks fans for the impact he made during his time with the team.

Drance notes that Schenn has been playing well above expectations during his time with the Canucks. Despite his low salary cap hit of $800,000, he’s been logging significant ice time. Perhaps most important in Vancouver is that he’s taken on the important role of being a regular partner for Quinn Hughes. He’s also frequently been used as a penalty killer.

Drance does touch on Schenn’s age and long career. He notes that, while there have been some signs of wear and tear as the season progressed, he believes Schenn has consistently made a positive impact with his physical play and smart puck movement. He’s interested to see how he’ll fit in with the Maple Leafs and whether he can continue to provide reliable depth on their blue line.

Related: Analyzing the Maple Leafs’ Trade for Jake McCabe & Sam Lafferty

Schenn Has Had to Adjust to His Age and Declining Speed

Schenn has been able to adjust his game as he’s gotten older and his foot speed has diminished. He might not be the most dynamic puck mover, but he’s still been able to make sharp plays with the puck. With the Canucks, Drance adds that Schenn has been a reliable defensive presence for his team.

Luke Schenn Vancouver Canucks
Luke Schenn Vancouver Canucks

Drance credits some of that ability to adjust to the fact that Schenn worked with Adam Oates on his hockey skills. That teaching and mentorship might have helped Schenn continue to improve and adapt his game. Overall, Schenn brings a ton of valuable experience and knowledge to the ice. Drance believes he can be important for any team’s success in high-pressure situations like the playoffs.

Can Schenn Help the Maple Leafs Advance Past the First Round?

The video suggests that, while Schenn is unlikely to be the sole tipping point for the Maple Leafs’ moving past the first round of the playoffs, he can address some of the issues the Lightning will cause in the playoffs. The Lightning are a good team. They went to the Stanley Cup finals last season; and, they have a deep and talented roster.

Schenn’s role on this Maple Leafs’ team will likely focus on providing depth and stability to the team’s defense. He plays physical and defensive hockey, which will be useful in playoff situations. He will not provide offense, but then that’s not his role. He’s never been known for his offensive contributions.

Will Schenn Take Wayne Simmonds’ Place as the Tough Guy?

It’s possible the Maple Leafs traded for Schenn in response to Tampa Bay’s recent addition of a physical player like Jeannot. By adding Schenn, Toronto might be looking to match the physicality and toughness the Lightning will bring to their first playoff series.

As Drance explains in the video above, it’s clear that both the Maple Leafs and Lightning are building rosters that can compete at the highest level. Ultimately, the success of these moves will depend on how the respective teams perform on the ice. However, it’s also clear that both teams are taking steps to prepare for their upcoming playoff matchup.

I’m happy that the Maple Leafs brought Luke Schenn into the fold for this postseason battle.




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