Schenn split last season between the Philadelphia Flyers and L.A. Kings scoring four goals and 12 assists in 72 games while averaging 17:34 a night in ice time. His five-year, $18 million expired on July 1 making him an unrestricted free agent.
“He’s a good, young defenseman and we feel we can optimize his performance here,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said in a statement. “He will be a solid addition to our blue line.”
The 26-year-old will be expected to bring a physical presence to the Coyotes back end, replacing Nicklas Grossmann. Schenn who was 15th in the league last season with 234 hits should help fill the void.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot the puck and move the puck well and (who’ve) got a good offensive instinct for the game, so I just want to try to play solid defensively and help out in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill and play physical,” Schenn told the team’s website. “Obviously, the way the game is now there’s a lot skating so you’ve definitely got to pick your spots to be physical, but I still think there’s definitely still a need for that.”
The addition of Schenn gives the Coyotes a plethora of right-shot defensemen. Zbynek Michalek, Anthony DeAngelo and Jamie McBain along with unsigned restricted free agents Connor Murphy and Michael Stone all play the right side.
The Maple Leafs drafted Schenn in the first round (5th overall) at the 2008 NHL Draft and the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native spent parts of four seasons playing for Toronto. In signing with the Coyotes, Schenn is looking forward to being out of the limelight.
“I’m looking forward to coming to a market where I can just worry about playing hockey and not outside added pressure,” Schenn said. “I’m looking forward to hopefully growing with the team. I know they have a lot of upside and I still feel like I’ve hopefully got some upside, too, and (I’m) still at a good age where I can continue to grow with them and evolve.”
Schenn has several familiar faces on the Coyotes roster having played with Shane Doan, Mike Smith and Antoine Vermette internationally for Team Canada. He was also a teammate of Ryan White’s in Philly.
“I think there have been a lot of segments in Luke’s career where he has been very impactful,” Chayka said. “He’s a physical player that separates the man from the puck and makes plays in the areas of the ice that we want to make plays. (And) he’s been an effective penalty killer throughout his career, and that’s another area that we needed to address.”
The addition of Schenn leaves the Coyotes with an estimated $12.84 million remaining in cap space, according to GeneralFanger.com.
In 566 career NHL games, Schenn has registered 128 points and 409 penalty minutes.