Bro big pro at dealing with pressure

JASON HILLS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

Over the years, many dynamic brother combinations have had a big impact on the NHL.

The Sutters, the Staals, the Neidermayers, the Sedins and the Turgeons have all made their mark.

However, there's one brother tandem that may pull off a feat no brother act has been able to accomplish.

With Luke Schenn embarking on the infant stages of his NHL career after being selected fifth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs this past June, his younger brother Brayden, a Brandon Wheat Kings power forward, is projected to be a top-five pick in the 2009 entry draft.

It could mark the first time in NHL history two brothers were taken in the top five of the NHL draft in back-to-back years.

"If that were to happen, that would certainly be something special," said Brayden, who led the Wheat Kings in scoring last season with 72 points in 66 games as a 16-year-old.

"But for me, I know I have a lot of work on. The draft is a long ways away."

Scott and Rob Neidermayer were top-five picks two years apart in 1991 and 1993. Eric and brother Jordan Staal were top-five picks three years apart, and Pierre and Sylvain Turgeon were also top-five picks, four years apart.

The Sedin twins were top-five picks, but they were both taken in 1999.

Brayden accompanied Luke at the 2008 draft in Ottawa and got an eye-opener as far as what it would be like for him this coming season after seeing what Luke went through leading up to the big event.

He witnessed firsthand the endless telephone calls, the intense interviews by NHL teams and their scouts and the rigorous workout NHL clubs put their top prospects through.

It's an all-out media frenzy that surrounds the NHL draft.

"It was a great experience to take that all in. The whole hockey world was there and it was neat to be there for Luke and be a part of it with him," said Brayden. "We are at different stages, but it's nice to have that brother to lean on. He's like a big pillar of support."

In so many ways, Brayden is following in the footsteps of his older brother.

The elder Schenn has been a mainstay for Canada on the world junior stage.

His Team Canada resume has a world junior, world under-18 and a Canada/Russia Super Series on it.

Last season, Brayden not only made an impact with the Wheaties, he also wore the Maple Leaf on multiple occasions. He won a bronze medal for Team West at the world under-17 hockey challenge and also won gold at the world under-18 championship. And he's a strong candidate for Canada's 2009 World Junior team.

"Brayden's the interesting story," said Carolina Hurricanes scout Ron Ferguson.

"He's in the shadow of his brother, but he's making his own shadow and he's got such a bright future ahead of him."

Ferguson doesn't know the Schenn family on a personal level, but he commends them for how they've handled the hockey hoopla of having two sons be elite prospects in back-to-back years.

"There is no competition of who can get more headlines," said Ferguson. "Luke is thinking, 'How can I help Brayden out so he can do the best he can do?' Brayden is smart enough to take the hints and take the advice.

"They're in this together."

This season, the younger Schenn has been given added responsibility with a leadership role and he relishes the opportunity to be a leader on a Wheat Kings squad that's expected to be a Memorial Cup contender.

He's been able to make his own mark, while scouts stare at him and hope he can have the success Luke has enjoyed the past two years.

"I don't think there's pressure on him because his brother is a good player," said Wheat Kings GM and head coach Kelly McCrimmon. "They are each others biggest fans and they are so proud of each others accomplishments. I don't think that would put any pressure on Brayden.

"If anything, perhaps he'd find it more motivating."


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