Luke Schenn is getting his chance at a Stanley Cup.
The feisty 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year deal worth $700,000 with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 1st after making an impact in Vancouver last season. Schenn was acquired from Anaheim by the Canucks in January in exchange for Michael Del Zotto.
We have signed Luke Schenn to a one-year contract worth $700,000.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 1, 2019
Schenn started strong in Utica before earning his call up to the big club. In 18 games with the Canucks, Schenn provided a solid physical presence on the third defensive pairing, racking up 81 hits and blocking 31 shots. Many fans were hoping he would be back in 2019-20 on a cheap short-term contract.
Schenn opened up to Joe Smith of the Athletic about why he decided to sign with Tampa Bay. Schenn said Vancouver offered him a one-year deal to stay, but he couldn’t pass up the chance to go to Tampa Bay. You can read the full story on his decision here.
A former fifth overall pick, Schenn has barely had a taste of the playoffs in his career to date playing on rebuilding teams such as the Maple Leafs, Flyers, Coyotes, Ducks and Canucks. He’s played 734 career NHL games, but has just 12 career playoff games on his resume.
The Lightning had an epic 128-point regular season last year and are once again a Cup Contender entering 2019-20. The Bolts got outmuscled at times in their first-round playoff loss to Columbus and could use the grit and physicality Schenn brings to the table.
Schenn says seeing his brother Brayden Schenn win the Stanley Cup with the Blues and bringing it home to Saskatoon made him want to win it himself that much more.
“There’s no question the fire is there,” Schenn told the Athletic. “When Tampa came in, (the Cup) was the first thing that crossed my mind. They were the top team in the league and obviously have extra motivation coming into next season. I haven’t had the chance to go deep in the playoffs yet, and that’s the main reason you keep going. I was glad to see my younger brother do it. You want it just as bad, if not more.”
Schenn certainly leaves the Canucks on good terms. He left a lasting mark on the AHL Comets and the younger players in Vancouver, showing that with hard work, you can earn ice time at the NHL level.
“I didn’t know what we were getting, but, man, is he a good example,” coach Travis Green told the media near the end of last season. “I didn’t even know if he’d get in the lineup. I think his game has steadily improved with the more games he has played. And it’s not so much his play, either. It’s his attitude and what he’s trying to bring to the table that other guys should watch and learn. You hope that guys are taking notice.”
“He’s a good example for young guys when they get in the lineup, to make sure you’re doing whatever you can to stay in the lineup,” Green added.
Schenn had the option to re-sign in Vancouver, but you can’t really blame him for chasing the ultimate dream with the Lightning.