Former Leafs defenseman blames the Leafs firing Dubas for his decision to leave Toronto

Dean Chaudhry
December 8, 2023  (4:39 PM)

Former first round pick and two-time Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn sat down with Jay Rosehill and Nick Alberga at LeafsNation on Friday to discuss his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs last year, his departure, and how things are unfolding in Nashville.

It was almost like a fairy-tale ending when the Maple Leafs acquired Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks ahead of the trade deadline last year. The rumours were rampant for quite some time and it was almost a foregone conclusion but seeing him back with the Blue & White was a good touch after how he resurrected his career over the last few seasons.
Schenn himself was more than thrilled about his second opportunity with the club that had drafted him with the 5th overall pick back in 2008. He had tallied 21 points in just 53 games with the Canucks and became an instant target when you coupled his point totals with his defensive acumen, shot blocking abilities, and his physicality.
In 15 regular season games with the Leafs, he scored a goal, averaged 13:18 TOI, blocked 17 shots, and finished 60 hits. In 11 playoff games he added an assist, averaged 17:27 TOI, blocked 17 shots, and finished with 54 hits, while ending the post-season with a plus-8 rating.
It was no secret how happy he was to be back and that he would loved to have stayed for another season or two but the Maple Leafs were strapped for cash and as Schenn detailed it himself, once Brad Treliving stepped in, the conversations started to change a little bit:
"Things happened right after the year and you lose out a tough series in Florida and like every year, you have your year-end meeting and I met with Kyle and his staff and there was talk about coming back - depending on what was going to happen with his situation - and at the end of the day, this game we all know it, it's the game we all love but in reality it's business, you're talking to one guy you thought was going to be in charge and we all did."

"Then things changed and Tre came in and had some good conversations with him too and at the end of the day everyone wanted to make it work and there's no secret, I started in Toronto and loved it there and got a chance the second time around which was kind of like a dream come true to get another chance to play there and a chance to play in the playoffs but in reality they're tight against the cap and business-side of things unfortunately came into it..."

The Kyle Dubas saga was gaining traction by the day and when he dropped the bomb that they had parted ways, the Maple Leafs had to hurriedly change their path and find a new man to lead the charge. It's not that Treliving didn't want to keep Schenn around but he knew that there were bigger fish to fry and looking at his contract in Nashville, it became evident that the Leafs were not willing to match it as they had a different plan in place.
Nevertheless, Schenn understood that hockey is a business first and foremost and while the Leafs could have made it work - Schenn is making less than John Klingberg - the front office was looking towards players like William Nylander and top free agents in Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi instead.
"In saying that, I'm really happy to be in Nashville. Nashville is one of those places I always loved coming to on the road, probably my favourite city in the entire league as far as visiting. Good solid buddies I've played with in the past like Ryan McDonagh, O'Reilly, and Tyson Barrie, and a couple other good guys and I've known Barry Trotz for a long time. Toronto, I loved it there but like i said business gets in the way with the salary cap, it's a flat cap and they got some big boys to take care of up front and that's how things kind of shook out."

Schenn's first season in Nashville has been marred by an injury he suffered on opening night that has limited him to just 8 games. He did make his return 6 weeks later and has played in the last 7 games, going without a point, posting a minus-2 rating, averaging 14:14 TOI, and delivering 26 hits to 8 blocked shots.
Former Leafs defenseman blames the Leafs firing Dubas for his decision to leave Toronto

Which contract would you rather have on the books in Toronto; Klingberg's $4.15M on LTIR for 1 year or Schenn's $2.75M for 3 years?

Schenn's 3-year deal80374.6 %
Klingberg's $4.15M in LTIR space14413.4 %
Depends what the Leafs use the cap space on12912 %
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