It’s been a big year for Brayden Schenn since he was drafted No. 5 overall by the Kings last June. Schenn was highly impressive in his first NHL training camp, returned to junior hockey as captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings and led them to the finals of the Memorial Cup and also participated in the World Junior Championships again. Schenn also made his NHL debut with a one-game cameo in Vancouver and didn’t look out of place. Now, Schenn faces an important summer, one that could help him earn a spot on the Kings’ roster in training camp this September. Today, Schenn talked about last season, his summer and his future…
Question: Dean Lombardi has said that in order for you to make this team, you’re going to have to have a great summer. What are you trying to accomplish this summer, going into training camp?
SCHENN: “I’m just trying to get myself in better shape. There’s a level that I need to be to play with the team this year. I think I’m going to come back down for a few weeks in July and a few weeks in August and work with their strength guy. It’s going to be pretty important for me. If that’s what I need to do to get to the next level, I’m going to do it. From here on out, I’m just looking forward to September and trying to get myself in the best shape I can.”
Question: It was only one game, but getting in that game against Vancouver last season, did it give you some confidence or some insight?
SCHENN: “Well, I played in lots of exhibition games last year and one (NHL) game there, but yeah, it’s definitely a lot faster pace out there. Obviously it’s going to take a little adjusting, getting used to, fighting to come up from the junior level, but I’m willing to take on the challenge in September and I’m going to try to challenge for a spot.”
Question: In what ways would you say you’re a different player from this time last year?
SCHENN: “I think I gained a lot of experience playing in the World Juniors, and obviously I got another year of junior under my belt. My main goal is to try to be a little bit better all around. I try to be a little quicker, my shot a little harder, just try to be better. That’s what every guy tries to do, one year to the next, is get better. I think I’ve done that, but I’ve still got a ways to go yet.”
Question: What were some of the things the Kings talked to you about improving, and do you feel like you have improved?
SCHENN: “Last year, after the draft, it was improving on my skating. That’s what they really wanted, quickness. From that time until now, it has gotten better and I’ve gotten quicker. Obviously speed is a big factor in the game these days, so I’ve still got to improve on it, still got to work on it, and I’m trying to do that every day.”