The Arizona Coyotes made further refinements to their defensive corps by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract today, according to the team's website. Per Elliotte Friedman, the average annual value of the contract is $1.25 million.
Luke Schenn AAV in ARIZ is $1.25M— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 23, 2016
Schenn split last season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings. In 72 regular season games, Schenn had four goals and twelve assists playing largely bottom six minutes. He had a goal and an assist in the Kings' first round exit to the San Jose Sharks this postseason.
Some of Schenn's best years were with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he twice recorded 22 points. At 6' 2", 229 pounds, Schenn is also a larger body on the right side.
As far as production totals are concerned, his raw numbers aren't anything special. But that is more due to the kind of minutes he played in Philly and Los Angeles. When he was on the ice, he actually did a pretty decent job of lighting the lamp.
His scoring, playmaking, and overall point levels were at a rate we would expect to see from a #3 or #4 defenseman. And those production totals look eerily similar to RFA Michael Stone's when compared side-by-side.
The biggest disparity between the two is obviously possession; Stone is much better at generating shots then Schenn is, and while neither is particularly good at suppressing them, Stone also edges Schenn out. But the differences between the two are not dramatic, and in all likelihood Schenn's contract is going to be considerably less expensive than Stone's, whether Stone ultimately goes to arbitration or not.
While Luke Schenn adds a valuable right-handed shot to the blue line, I'm not sure the Coyotes are done tweaking their D corps just yet.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) July 23, 2016
This makes sense too. As of now the Coyotes have Schenn and Kevin Connauton on the right side, with Connor Murphy a non-arbitration eligible RFA who will be re-signed and Jamie McBain as a depth option. On the left, there's Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Zbynek Michalek, Klas Dahlbeck, and Jarred Tinordi. That's an already crowded defensive pool even without Stone.
The Schenn signing helps the Coyotes in more than a few ways; Schenn's production rates are comparable to Stone's, and at just $1.25 million a year it helps the Coyotes' case against Stone in arbitration. It also gives the Coyotes some wiggle room to move a player like Stone in a trade. And if nothing else, the Coyotes give themselves another credible option in their bottom four on the right side.
It's not spectacular, but neither is it baffling. Luke Schenn has decent upside for good value. The biggest question will be how the Coyotes address their defensive logjam in the coming months.