Flyers deal van Riemsdyk to Leafs for Schenn
The Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in exchange for forward James van Riemsdyk.
It appeared as if the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to walk away from draft weekend without making a major move. Then again, maybe we all just needed a little bit of patience.
Both players had been mentioned in trade rumors for months, and the Flyers had a serious interest in upgrading their defense. It appears to be a classic hockey trade where finances and contracts have no major role, and two teams simply looking to improve a couple of weaknesses (the Leafs wanted to add a top-six forwards, the Flyers wanted to add a defenseman).
Van Riemsdyk is signed for the next six years at a cap hit of $4.25 million per season and is coming off a 2011-12 campaign that saw him score 11 goals to go with 13 assists in an injury shortened season that limited him to just 43 games. He's a former No. 2 overall pick and still has plenty of room to improve, and could top out as a 30-35 goal scorer.
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Schenn has four years remaining on a contract that pays him $3.6 million per year, so there is a small bit of cap savings for the Flyers. His play seemed to regress a bit last season in Toronto as his ice-time dropped all the way down to about 16 minutes per game, and he never quite reached the potential that seemed to be there for him after the Maple Leafs selected him with No. 5 overall pick in the 2008 draft. He was the last of the quartet of defensemen that went in the top-five that year, going after Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), Zach Bogosian (Atlanta/Winnipeg) and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis).
Another interesting development to come out of this deal is the report from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, and how the Blue Jackets were counting on van Riemsdyk to be a central part of a potential Rick Nash deal with Philadelphia. So not only does this bring Luke Schenn to Philadelphia, it also might keep Nash out.
It's also worth pointing out that Schenn's younger brother, Brayden, is also a member of the Flyers having been acquired by the team almost exactly one year ago in the trade that sent Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. This comes just one day after the Penguins sent Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes and reunited him with his older brother, Eric.
Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said he was in the running for Staal on Friday night but didn't have an offer that would match Carolina's, and also because his team didn't have one of the Staal brothers playing for it.
He may not have landed the No. 1 center his team has been searching for the past few years (or a goalie ... yet), but he did get a pretty good young forward to help fill out one of his top lines.
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