The Luke Schenn re-vitalization project didn’t get off the ground. Just as the assembled hockey media was ditching Pittsburgh for the weekend, Brian Burke took the time to make the biggest deal of the year so far, sending Schenn to Philadelphia in exchange for James Van Riemsdyk.
Breaking News!!!!Toronto trades Luke Schenn to Flyers for James Van RiemsDyk.Done deal. #TSN
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 23, 2012
This is a very interesting deal on many fronts, and one that both adds and removes an unfortunate contract for both the Leafs and the Flyers. Schenn’s cap hit is $3.6M over the next four seasons, while Van Riemsdyk’s is $4.25M over the next six. So a pretty large amount of dollars going back and forth.
Van Riemsdyk, unlike Schenn, however, is a positive possession player, with a 5.8 Corsi rate over 43 games last season, scoring 11 goals. He also faced very tough competition, a .816 Corsi Rel QoC. He hovered about even over lesser competition last season.
Schenn’s possession rates were brutal last year and he was likely mis-cast as a defensive defenceman. There are all the tools for a very good NHL defenceman there, but he worked himself into an unfortunate situation by playing poorly for three of his four seasons. It’s very unfortunate that the Maple Leafs rushed him to the NHL, and then signed him to that deal, but he has a chance to live up to his potential in a different place.
For Van Riemsdyk, he’s usually been a pretty good scorer. Like Schenn, he was a former high pick, going #2 in 2007 to Patrick Kane, while Schenn was #5 back in 2008. He joins his brother Brayden in Philadelphia. But Van Riemsdyk doesn’t have an obvious open spot on the roster just yet: Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, Nikolay Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur are pretty well the top four wingers on this team, which may mean that this isn’t Burke’s last move.
Either way, the Leafs exchanged a contract for a minus player to a contract for a plus player. I don’t doubt that there still isn’t some interest in JVR as far as other general managers are concerned:
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) June 23, 2012
Burke tends to win more trades than he loses. Whether there’s a plan or not, Burke sensed an opportunity to improve his team, and we’ll see what happens the rest of the summer.