They waited until the wee hours of training camp eve, but it appears as though the Toronto Maple Leafs got their man under contract. Luke Schenn has reportedly agreed to a new contract with the team. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, it’s a five-year deal worth $3.6 million per season.
The Leafs manage to keep Schenn under the $4 million barrier, relatively reasonable for budding premiere shutdown defenseman, not to mention the team maintains control of him through what would be his first bout with unrestricted free agency in 2014-15. The reported $3.6 million annual cap hit vaults Schenn into the same pay grade as guys like Matt Carle, Nick Schultz, Kris Letang and Ryan Suter (due for a significant increase next summer).
Some may scoff at the annual value of the deal, but it’s the reality of market. Schenn is arguably the Leafs best defenseman, and although he hasn’t shown much in the way of offensive upside, he’s still just 21-years old. Schenn led all NHL defenseman in hits last season with 251, and he also finished in the top 15 for blocked shots with 168. The only Leafs defenseman to log more ice-time per night than Schenn was team captain caveman Dion Phaneuf. James Wisniewski is a $5.5 million defenseman in Columbus, and Schenn’s cap hit wouldn’t even make him the most overpaid defenseman on his own team (looking at you Mike Komisarek, you too Phaneuf). We’ll take Schenn at $3.6 million per season until he’s 26 years old.
More details to come as the deal is made official…