They spent just one season together in Los Angeles, but Luke Schenn clearly made a lasting impression on Darryl Sutter.
Sutter, who now serves as the head coach of the Calgary Flames, coached Schenn during the 2015-16 season, when an early January trade between the Philadelphia Flyers and Kings saw Schenn head to California along with Vincent Lecavalier in exchange for Jordan Weal and a 2016 third round pick going the other way.
Schenn appeared in 43 games for the Kings that season, tallying two goals and nine assists while logging 52 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, Schenn added a goal and an assist in five games before the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Kings in the first round. The Sharks would go on to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ahead of tonight’s game between the Canucks and Flames, Darryl Sutter was asked about what he likes about the Canucks team. He didn’t have much praise for the team itself, hinting at the fact that the Canucks don’t have a great team despite having some forwards scoring at elite-level paces, but he did have some high praise for Schenn, who clearly made a lasting impression on Sutter in the 47 games he suited up for him in.
“It’s pretty obvious,” said Sutter. “They’ve got at least five guys, at random, on pace for what, 35-to-50 goals? That’s…I don’t know if I like that…and then I guess, what else?
“Luke. I like Luke Schenn a lot. I coached him in LA. He’s a top guy. He’d be captain on most teams. I like that.”
After his abbreviated season in Los Angeles, Schenn signed a two-year deal worth $2.5 million with the Arizona Coyotes in the free agency period that followed. Schenn then signed a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks, the team who sent him down to the AHL for the first time since he was drafted. It was the low point of Schenn’s NHL career, but a late-season trade to the Vancouver Canucks, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning believing in him enough to sign him to two one-year contracts en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, helped turn Schenn’s career around.
Fans in Vancouver don’t need to be reminded of Schenn’s worth to a team. Aside from being Quinn Hughes’ personal bodyguard, Schenn’s level of play has been phenomenal ever since he chose to return to the Canucks, and he’s provided them with exceptional value considering he carries a cap hit of just $850,000.
Puck drop between the Flames and Canucks is at 7 PM Pacific tonight. For our full scenes from morning skate game-day coverage, click here!