Alright, I feel like I have to start this thing off with “NOW HEAR ME OUT“, and if you feel you need to stop reading right now, that’s fine. But if you want to dust off that sweet, sweet Schenn jersey you haven’t thought about in a while, then follow me into this twisted world of re-acquiring Luke to get his brother in blue and white.
Over the last few days, it’s become more and more apparent that the Flyers have Brayden Schenn on the trade market. It looks like they don’t really want to pay him as a restricted free agent next summer, and perhaps feel he’s at his ceiling. The Flyers are also always in cap hell and have been supremely dumb with money (yes, glass houses I know), so they really just need to re-gain some flexibility after all the crazy things they’ve done.
Now, if you were following the Leafs through their first go-around with a Schenn, you know there were always people talking trades to unite these two brothers (or “brudders”). That eventually ended up happening, just not in Toronto.
There’s also a little bit of backstory with Brayden and Toronto when it comes to the draft as well, since it was widely known Brian Burke wanted to move up to fifth to take him in 2009 but was unsuccessful, and ended up staying put to take Nazem Kadri a couple spots later. Because of that, Kadri and Schenn have been compared quite a bit, especially when Luke was in Toronto and everyone wanted the Schenn brothers to run the city.
But enough of all that. Why on earth would the Leafs want to make this happen now? Well, Brayden is a talented forward, and having good young players on your team is usually ideal. We’re really breaking ground here, I know.
So the next question obviously becomes “Why would the Leafs make a deal for both Schenns when they really should only be interested in one?”
First off, it seems they’re both actually on the block. Sam Carchidi of Philly.com has been reporting on Hextall’s focus on moving a big cap hit like Luke Schenn, Lecavalier, or Umberger, because…well, he should be. And now Dreger and others are throwing Brayden’s name out there as well.
Like we mentioned at the top, the Flyers could use some cap room right now after handing out some brutal deals to the likes of Lecavalier and MacDonald in recent years, and they’re REALLY going to need it going forward when Voracek and Couturier get into their new price tags next summer. The Leafs have the flexibility to help them now and in the future by taking on both Schenns, and by taking Luke (with his cap hit of 3.6M), that should drive down the price to get Brayden (current cap hit of 2.5M). Conveniently, Luke’s deal finishes up after this season, so if the Leafs want, they can cut him loose, and then focus on Brayden’s RFA deal. With the way they have players falling off the books next summer, the latter really wouldn’t be too difficult.
As for a potential trade package, who knows. I’m guessing Lou and company would likely want to send out a contract but this is where that Grabner deal comes in handy, as they wouldn’t really have to get too creative to make something like this work. And keep in mind the Leafs have additional space coming by way of Nathan Horton going to LTIR if they need it.
Of course this is just some spitballing and for all we know the Leafs aren’t one of the teams even kicking tires here (Dreger mentioned the Blues as one of those who might be). But this is the type of deal Lamoriello could explore, and something like this would be a prime example of taking advantage of the smaller moves the team has made in recent months.