Brayden Schenn focused on contending for top-line centre role in St. Louis

Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn is congratulated as he passes the bench after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche. Philadelphia won 4-3. (David Zalubowski/AP)

After six years in Philadelphia that saw him rack up 109 goals and 246 points for the Philadelphia Flyers, Brayden Schenn will take the ice in new threads next season – and a more prominent role.

The 25-year-old is now property of the St. Louis Blues following a draft-day trade that moved Schenn for Jori Lehtera, the 27th-overall pick in this year’s draft (used to select forward Morgan Frost) and a conditional first-round pick in 2018.

Though getting dealt is surely bittersweet, Schenn said he’s focused on the opportunity to move back to his natural position, and to contend for a spot on the top line.

“They told me they’ll give me an opportunity at centre, so I’m excited,” Schenn told The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi on Sunday. “They have a lot of skilled forwards there, obviously, in [Vladimir] Tarasenko and [Jaden] Schwartz and [Alex] Steen. The list goes on and on.

“They obviously have a great team and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity.”

Schenn was pushed to the wing for much of his time in Philadelphia, slotted alongside talented pivots Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and more recently, Valtteri Filppula. The Flyers got even more crowded at centre ice on Friday when they drafted talented middle-man Nolan Patrick with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft.

That being the case, the move to St. Louis undoubtedly presents Schenn a greater chance of concluding his time as a winger.

“I’ve been looking forward to playing centre for the past little while,” he said. “And if I get a chance to do that in St. Louis, I’m going to take it and run with it.”

With Paul Stastny and Patrik Berglund in the mix, Schenn isn’t a lock for the top spot alongside Blues dynamo Tarasenko. But it seems the former Flyer will get a fair shake at a prominent role with the Blues, and with 51 goals over his past two campaigns, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock to see the Saskatoon native snag the first-line job down the line.

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