Utica, N.Y. - Defenseman Luke Schenn skated with the Utica Comets for the first time, Tuesday, after being traded to the Vancouver Canucks, and subsequently sent down, in a deal with the Anaheim Ducks, last Wednesday.
Schenn, 29, is an NHL veteran spending 11 seasons in the league with five different teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, and Ducks. He's suited up in 716 regular season contests.
This year, he played eight games for Anaheim before being assigned to the AHL's San Diego Gulls, where he has 22 games played with two goals and eight assists.
Throughout his NHL career, Schenn has amassed 30 goals and 113 assists along with 536 penalty minutes.
It hasn't been the season the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native was hoping for, but he still maintains a positive attitude.
"It's been a bit of a roller-coaster personally, but I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason," said Schenn. "Obviously I've never played in the American Hockey League before so it's been a new experience, but when I went down to San Diego, I wanted to make the best of it."
Schenn said that while he's meeting everyone for the first time, and isn't very familiar with the organization, he isn't coming into Utica blindsided. One of his best friends from back home is former Comets forward Derek Hulak, who played with the Comets in the 2016-17 season.
"Once I told him that Utica was the place then he kind of gave me the lowdown," Schenn said. "He said nothing, but great things about the city and the organization. It's always nice to have guys who are here before you to kind of tell you exactly what to expect."
Of course, one thing that always comes up in the hockey world when referring to Utica is the fan support at the Adirondack Bank Center at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
"[Hulak] said it's an incredible crowd. Obviously it's a bit of an older arena with a lot of character, and just practicing out there for the first time it looks like fans are right on top of you. Those are pretty cool atmospheres to play in," Schenn added. "I heard they're loud, they're rowdy and it's pretty tough for an opponent to come play in this arena because of the crowd, so [I'm] definitely looking forward to playing in front of this home crowd."
While he's here, he said he hopes to improve, citing that despite his experience, he still believes he has room to grow. He's also focused on helping the team win and mentoring some of the younger players to help them develop as well.
He categorizes himself as a puck moving defenseman, who has size and likes to be physical, something he is hoping to key in on during his time here in Utica.
Like everyone in the Comets' locker room, his goal is to make it back to the NHL, a motivating factor that head coach Trent Cull said can be beneficial to all involved.
"[When I spoke to him, I said] we're going to try to get you to play the best you can play," Cull said. "That's good for you, good for me, and good for our team."
Schenn is expected to make his Comets debut on Friday when the Comets take on the Rochester Americans on the road.
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