In a deal announced today, the Philadelphia Flyers have dealt 22-year old James van Riemsdyk, a former second overall pick, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 22-year old defenseman Luke Schenn. Schenn is the brother of current Flyers forward Brayden Schenn.
After the Flyers passed on the draft’s top defensemen in both rounds one and two, many thought GM Paul Holmgren was ready to pull the trigger on either a big name free agent or a big-time trade, the latter of which definitely defines this move.
The team desperately needs help on defense with the imminent departure of Chris Pronger and the downgrade in play from veterans Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn. Schenn is a physical, puck-handling player who will benefit from a change in scenery; some say he wasn’t ready for the media attention and criticism he faced in Toronto which will be slightly alleviated when he comes to the City of Brotherly Love. Another plus is the fact that he can play with his brother Brayden.
A lot of experts thought the world of JVR when he first came to the team; people were especially high on the kid after the 2011 postseason in which he scored an impressive seven goals. He seemed to be on his way to stardom.
Injury concerns and overall mediocre play, however, from the center caused a steep drop in production, part of the reason the front office was so willing to part with the kid. This trade also saves the team $650,000 in cap space.
This move will undoubtedly help the team because the depth at center is more than enough to cope with the loss of JVR while Schenn will help a unit that may have been the sole reason for an early playoff exit in 2011-2012.