My Case Against Giving Schenn Big Term, Big Salary >

My Case Against Giving Schenn Big Term, Big Salary

Created 2 years 36 days ago
by Michael DeNicola

Views: 2149



written by Michael DeNicola

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 --

I want Brayden Schenn under contract, but at what cost. As of this minute, the 24-year-old is set to enter into an arbitration hearing on July 25th. Between now and then, the Flyers and Brayden's camp have a chance to get pen on paper, and an extension signed. 

Most of us have used a $5 million average annual value as sort of a bar to work with. Some of us want to see the contract come under that, while some of us are fine if it comes in just north of that number. The five-million dollar mark seems fair; not too much, not too cheap. If both sides come out of this feeling a little unsatisfied, that's typically the sign of a fair deal. 

Anyways, Brayden's extension has been under the microscope since the Flyers were eliminated from the Playoffs. Ron Hextall assured us a deal will get done. He also told us that getting help on our top two scoring lines is a top priority: whether that means locking Schenn down to a contract, trading for a Top 6 forward, signing one in free agency, or sneakily implying that he intends on filling the position by promoting from within.... I'm not 100% certain. Ron does a swell job keeping people like me in the dark, and for good reason I suppose. 

So, among all the internet noise and traffic, these are my own thoughts... this is my own case against giving Brayden Schenn big term and salary on his next extension with the Philadelphia Flyers. 

For starters, I'll use that $5 million figure: I want Schenn's cap hit to come under that. Do I believe Brayden is worth $5 million or more per year? That's dependent on a number of things outside what he totaled in goals and points this past season. And speaking of...

Brayden had a career year in 2015-16. He scored 26 goals and 59 points in 80 games. That's a 0.74 Points Per Game average, and Schenn was only one of 23 forwards who everaged that much or more in 80 games. 

Overall, it was a solid campaign for the young RFA. 

His biggest detractors will tell you the issue they have with Schenn is his inconsistency. He'll score in bunches, then his game goes radio silent through chunks of the schedule. This is a fair critique. 

Between and including the 2011-12 and 2014-15 seasons, Brayden skated in 265 regular season games. All with the Flyers. He scored a goal in 49 of those 265 games, which is an 18% consistency rate. He scored a point in 105 of those games, which is a 40% consistency rate. When you compare that to Evander Kane, who was taken 4th Overall in the same Entry Draft, his numbers look like so: Between and including the 2011-12 and 2014-15 seasons, Evander skated in 222 regular season games, scoring a goal in 64 of those games (29%), and a point in 113 of those games (51%). Same Entry Draft, Matt Duchene, chosen 3rd Overall, 258 games played, 67 with a goal scored (26%), 136 with a point scored (53%). 

The reason I find these percentages relevant is because it eliminates the "Points Per Game" bias, and it gives us a better idea of how consistent or inconsistent a player's points contribution has been. 

In his 80 games this past season, Brayden Schenn scored a goal in 23 games, which is a 29% consistency rating. He scored a point in 42 games, which is a 53% consistency rating. 

This is an incredible jump from what he had given us prior to 2015-16. 

So, if Brayden showcased more consistency, where exactly does my issue lie with him?

There's this whole "regression towards the mean" that I can't quite shake outta my head. This concept is defined as "a phenomenon that if a variable is extreme on its first measurement, it will tend to be closer to the average on its second measurement. To avoid making incorrect inferences, regression toward the mean must be considered when interpreting data."

According to this approach...

  • Although Brayden's 26 goals this season are closer to 30, it's likely they'll be closer to 20 moving forward. 
  • Although Brayden's 59 points this season are closer to 60, it's likely they'll be closer to 50 moving forward. 
  • Although Brayden scored a goal in 29% of the games he played this season, it's likely that'll be closer to 24%.
  • Although Brayden scored a point in 53% of the games he played this season, it's likely that'll be closer to 47%. 

Now, do any of these numbers have the chance of progressing over each coming season? Sure! Schenn turns 25-years-old this August, so it's not like we should be concerned about age being a declining influence. But is 'chance' enough of a basis to legitimize a big salary, big term? Mathematically, the odds answer no. 

Some more skepticism has been aimed at Schenn's 14.6 shooting percentage this season. It was the highest of his career; 12.4% being his second-best. But since his first season with the Flyers, Brayden's shooting percentage has been in double-digits every single year. He's maintained that for five straight seasons --- only 64 forwards, with 340 or more NHL games-played since 2011-12, can say they've achieved the same thing. I don't see an issue with Schenn continuing to maintain his. 

Why's that?

Roughly a year ago I literally watched every single highlight of Schenn's goals. Trust me when I say that his percentages have been cushioned by an enormous number of close-range goals. A lot of junk, a lot of garbage was cleaned up by his stick. He did a lot more close-quarter damage than sniping low percentage shots. 

Look, there's nothing wrong with that. A goal's a goal, and we'll take them however we can get them. But here's where I think everyone can agree: One of the ways to shut the Flyers down is by neutralizing our traffic in front of the opposing goalie. If we can't get to the dirty areas, then we lack the capacity to start delivering mail from the perimeter. That's been an impenetrable ceiling of ours for a number of years, and Brayden doesn't exactly blow a hole through that. 

Bottom line, I want Schenn on this team. He's an asset, I would never say he isn't. But he's a pretty good scoring-line winger on a pretty average hockey team. And despite putting together a career season for himself, many of his teammates were playing better hockey without him on the ice versus how they performed with him on the ice --

Schenn's 2015-16 5v5 Zone-Start Adjusted 'WITH YOU' Statistics

Schenn's 2015-16 5v5 Zone-Start Adjusted (in Close Situations) 'WITH YOU' Statistics

If another bridge contract can get it done (much like his latest 2 Years, $5 Million deal), then I believe it'd be beneficial for both sides. We're obviously talking about a bump in salary, but the term hurts no one... 2 Years, $9.5 Million ($4.75mm AAV), and we see where we're at in June, 2018. 



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