TORONTO - His contract negotiations are going down to the wire, but Luke Schenn isn’t tossing and turning at night.
Pins and needles weren’t part of Schenn’s thinking on Wednesday morning when he finished an informal practice with his Maple Leafs teammates at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke.
“There is no point in stressing over it,” the 21-year-old defenceman said. “It’s going to be a last-minute thing.”
Schenn’s agent, Don Meehan, and Leafs management have been haggling on a new pact for Schenn for several weeks, but neither side has shown much concern with the absence of a new deal. There were rumours earlier on Wednesday that Schenn was shooting for a contract that would pay him in the neighbourhood of $4 million US a season, but that was before Zach Bogosian, selected two picks before Schenn went fifth to the Leafs in 2008, signed a two-year pact with the Winnipeg Jets.
Bogosian’s contract will pay him $2 million this season and $3 million in 2012-13. While it could be that those were not the kind of numbers Schenn necessarily had in mind, it’s easy to assume his deal will be closer to what Bogosian signed for than it will be to $4 million per year.
In 231 NHL games, Schenn has 12 goals and 41 assists and is minus-17. In 199 NHL games, Bogosian has 24 goals and 35 assists and is minus-34.
Where Schenn led NHL defencemen with 251 hits, Bogosian had 111. Schenn blocked 168 shots. For Bogosian, the number was 91.
The third member of the group of restricted free agent defencemen from the class of ’08, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, also has not signed. It appears Doughty, who could be looking for as much as $7 million a season, is in danger of being unsigned before camp begins.
Schenn, who has the personality to be a captain in the NHL one day, wouldn’t say what would happen on the chance he does not have a deal done by the time the Leafs arrive for physicals on Friday morning.
“I would rather not comment on that,” Schenn said. “I have never thought it would not get done.”
For the past few weeks, Schenn has been on the ice with his teammates, preparing for what he has assumed will be a smooth start to training camp.
“I want to be here with my teammates, training every day and skating with them, going to the charity golf tournament,” Schenn said. “I don’t think there is any excuse for missing any of this. I think I’m more of a distraction (if he did stay away).”
There’s another reason why Schenn is looking forward to getting his contract done and out of the way. The Leafs will play the Philadelphia Flyers twice during the pre-season and four times in the regular season, giving Schenn ample chances to play against his brother, Brayden, who figures he is ready to play in the NHL.
The Schenn brothers are not quite two years apart in age, and played each other once in the Western Hockey League, when Luke was with the Kelowna Rockets and Brayden skated for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Luke tries to talk to his little brother every day.
“You want to find out how things are going,” Luke Schenn said. “The first thing that came to mind when was traded to Philadelphia (from the Los Angeles Kings in the Mike Richards swap) was how excited we were because we play Philadelphia (relatively often). It’s a lot easier when you are playing in the same conference. It will be good for our family because they will come down and watch us play more.
“And being the older brother, I can’t let up on him.”