Brayden Schenn Remains Right Choice for Blues Captain

The Hockey Writers

In his first season as the St. Louis Blues captain, Brayden Schenn has had numerous on-ice struggles. By following players like Alex Pietrangelo and Ryan O’Reilly, the pressure has always been high for him as captain. Both Pietrangelo and O’Reilly had different levels of success while captaining the Blues. For Pietraneglo, he won a Stanley Cup in St. Louis and became the first captain in franchise history to do so. O’Reilly led by example as captain and led the club to a second-round playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche in 2022.

For Schenn, he seems like a phenomenal leader and great for the locker room, but he has not been good enough on the ice. Despite the struggles, both former head coach Craig Berube and interim head coach Drew Bannister have kept him as the second or third-line center all season. Let’s dive into the first season as captain for Schenn and why the process needs to be trusted in St. Louis.

Schenn’s Offensive Production Lacking

Schenn has not produced enough offense while playing second-line minutes this season. His ice time has dipped a full minute on average from last season, but he’s stayed up in the lineup all season long despite the struggles. He should be given time to figure things out, but moving him to the third line and putting Kevin Hayes on the second line might not hurt.

Brayden Schenn St. Louis Blues
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In 38 games, Schenn has scored eight goals, eight assists, and 16 points, which is 0.42 points per game. He averaged 0.33 points per game in 2011-12, which was his first season of 50-plus games in the NHL. Outside of that, he’s been above 0.50 points per game for the majority of his career, including a career-high of 0.94 with the Blues in 2021-22. On top of below-average point production, he’s also carrying a team-worst plus/minus of minus-15. To his credit, he’s still throwing his body around with 72 hits in 38 games.

He scored a shootout goal to clinch a road win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, Jan. 6, which is the first time he’s hit the back of the net since a two-goal game against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 30. He has zero goals and two assists since the beginning of December in 16 games. This won’t cut it for a full 82-game season, especially with his $6.5 million salary cap hit. On a positive note, Schenn has been steadily improving his percentage in the faceoff circle, and it’s up to 50.4 percent right now.

Schenn Remains an Important Part of Franchise

I am a believer in trusting the process and the Blues should do so with Schenn as captain. I still think this can work well for both sides. He has shown his willingness to stick up for his teammates and does all the right things as the captain of the team. People could have argued Robert Thomas was a better choice to be captain over Schenn, but I don’t think he was ready coming into this season. Despite his on-ice struggles, I still think he was the right choice.

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The Blues have enough veterans and a good enough leadership group to stay afloat from a team morale standpoint. I don’t think there is a better player to lead the way than Schenn. He’s been in St. Louis since the 2017-18 season and was a huge part of the Stanley Cup team in 2019. The process needs to be trusted and I think a veteran general manager like Doug Armstrong will allow things to play out. The Blues are playing well right now and hopefully, that carries over to Schenn.

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