When you’re a fringe player, sometimes, all you need is an opportunity to show what you can do. Timing is also everything but it’s also depending on the organisation and the coach. Martin St-Louis has only been the Montreal Canadiens’ coach for four games now and he’s already been a positive influence on a few players. The impact he has had on Cole Caufield is well documented but one not-so-young defenseman is also gaining the confidence of the new coach.
With the season of misery the Canadiens have had so far, it’s not the lack of opportunities that are lacking for players who started with the Laval Rocket to get a chance to play in the NHL. A few games ago, St-Louis told his assistant-coach Luke Richardson to trust and play Corey Schueneman. He saw something that the previous coach Dominique Ducharme didn’t and St-Louis wanted to see more. And boy has the 26 year-old defenseman not disappointed!
In two games under St-Louis, Schueneman has played on average 20:25 minutes per game, trailing only Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Brett Kulak, who is on display as trade bait for the trade deadline. Yes, that’s a few seconds more than Alexander Romanov even, who played 20:07 minutes. In the last game against the powerful St. Louis Blues, he was the second most utilized defenseman, logging over 21 minutes of ice time.
It’s hard to point to one aspect that the Milford, Minnesota-native brings. While he doesn’t stand out in any particular aspect, he does everything well. Standing at 6-feet tall and 196 lbs, he’s not an imposing figure but he’s not small either. Good skater, he usually makes excellent decisions with the puck and defends well. You can tell that he’s a smart player by the timing of what he does on the ice. He has even gained in confidence to the point where he supports the attack when the moment presents itself.
While playing at Western Michigan University, he had a season of 26 points in 34 games and he managed a season of 21 points in 44 games in the AHL with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames’ farm team. So he does have some offensive flair and he has started to show it in the two games he’s played under St-Louis. He has managed one assist so far.
It is not unforeseeable to think that Schueneman could be a suitable replacement for likely departing Kulak for next season. Something tells me that we’ll see more of this guy before the season is over.