The next game Brayden Schenn plays for the Los Angeles Kings will be his ninth. Significant because that is the last game he can play this year before Kings management needs to decide whether to return him to his junior club or have this season count as the first against his entry level contract (ELC).
Earlier in the week, Kings’ management stated that they did not know what they would do and they would meet once he played his ninth game. They said all the nice standard comments, such as, “we’re going to keep our best players.” I’m sure they will, however, in this cap era, it isn’t just your best players, it’s your best players at prices that make sense.
The money is what I believe will drive their decision, and I believe the decision will be to send him back to Brandon, his junior club. Is it because that is the best place for him to develop? No. The best place for him is the AHL, but thanks to the rule governing CHL rights, that isn’t an option for Schenn. The reason he will be back in Brandon is money. His ELC calls for a cap hit of over $3 million thanks to his high draft position and unfortunately the ten or so minutes a night he is playing on the fourth line does not justify that large of a cap hit. Additionally, it does not make good fiscal sense to blow the first year of his ELC on fourth line duty. The Kings are better served waiting a year until he can take the place of Michal Handzus, who’s contract, and $4 million cap hit, is up after this season.
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