Full Analysis and Grade of Luke Schenn Signing with Nashville Predators

Mar 4, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn (2) skates during warm up prior to a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn (2) skates during warm up prior to a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

After a very busy free agency period for the Nashville Predators, the roster has now gotten some added veteran experience and more depth for the defensive core with the Luke Schenn signing.

The addition of Schenn may have come as a surprise for a couple reasons; one being that the Predators already had seemingly their top three starting defensive pairings to be satisfied with, and two being that it added another aging veteran when the team has preached getting younger.

Despite that, Schenn undoubtedly brings a winning attitude and quality experience with 15 years in the NHL among nine teams. He has bounced all over the NHL, and the Nashville Predators will be his sixth team going back to 2018-19.

How will Schenn change the Nashville Predators starting defense?

Schenn joins the Nashville Predators on a three-year deal at $2.75 million AAV. A cheap deal that doesn’t carry much long-term risk, and will generate some roster competition in training camp.

Even at what seems like a low AAV, you can still argue that it’s an overpay for Schenn, but when you have the bloated cap space that the Predators had to work with, you sometimes can afford to spend a little extra for a player you really want.

Head Coach Andrew Brunette will have to sort out his defensive pairings as a regular starter will be moved out, and all I can think about is that player likely being Dante Fabbro.

Schenn is a right handed defenseman who will bring the physicality to the third pairing, and while Jeremy Lauzon makes total sense as Schenn’s linemate on the left side.

Fabbro is also a right handed defenseman and is signed to just one more year, meaning the organization isn’t necessarily invested in him long-term.

On the other hand, Lauzon is signed to 2026-27 and probably has a longer leash to initially get the starts alongside Schenn.

This is why the Schenn signing came as somewhat of a surprise to me. I’m not sure Trotz would’ve felt so inclined to sign a 33-year-old defenseman, who will be 34 early in the regular season, if he had solid confidence in Fabbro.

Schenn does provide some improved confidence in the starting six defensemen, especially after Alexandre Carrier has also been re-signed. You have to feel pretty good about a starting defensive six led by Roman Josi, Ryan McDonagh and Tyson Barrie to go along with the depth behind them.

As for on the ice, Schenn is going to be reliable in the defensive zone at blocking shots and providing physical play to protect his goaltender. I actually really like the combination of Schenn and Lauzon to be a bruising and punishing line that will get under the skin of opposing teams.

I love the thought of Schenn being the effective replacement to the loss of Mark Borowiecki, who announced his retirement and is now a development coach with the Nashville Predators. Schenn can keep the Predators as one of the better penalty kills in the NHL, which rallied to finish sixth in PK percentage in 2022-23.

Schenn racked up 98 blocks last season to go along with 318 hits. He led the NHL in hits while also being a regular in the penalty box with 84 PIM. So yeah, we see here that Schenn is going to lay the lumber and add some serious brute to the Nashville defense.

With the addition of Ryan O’Reilly, also from the Maple Leafs, and suddenly the Nashville Predators have added some “winning culture” type of veterans to a locker room that has a lot of inexperience and needs some mentors to bring along what is being branded more as a retool than a rebuild.

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You don’t go out and add Schenn to the books for three years if you’re content with rebuilding and letting the process play out over the course of a few years to let the youth develop. Instead, Trotz wants a swift return back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2023-24.

I can’t give this signing an “A” grade because three years is steep for a player about to be 34, but in the immediate future you can’t deny that he’ll add value to the Predators defensive capabilities and will add some winning culture to the locker room.

Luke Schenn Signing Grade: B-