Unless you were disconnected from the world today, or at the Phillies game, you probably already know that the Flyers traded James van Riemsdyk to Toronto for Luke Schenn.
It seems as if this trade was in the works since February, when it was rumored the teams would make the swap surrounding the trade deadline. For some reason, neither team pulled trigger.
Four months later, JVR is now a Maple Leaf and Luke Schenn joins his brother Brayden to become the first set of brothers to wear the orange and black since the Sutter twins.
While the trade seemed inevitable, it was only less than a year ago the Flyers signed JVR to a six-year, $25 million extension. It was also a year ago to the day Paul Holmgren shocked the world and traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who also were at the starts of their long-term deals.
They say it is a business but the Flyers really take it to heart don’t they?
The ink was barely dry on his contract and the Flyers were already shopping JVR.
Sure, JVR didn’t live up to his potential…yet.
His 2011-12 season was plagued by multiple injuries, including a concussion. In 196 games played, JVR scored 47 goals and 99 points. He showed how valuable he can be during the 2010-11 postseason where he scored seven goals in 11 games.
Many Flyers fans criticized JVR because he didn’t use his size to his advantage and wasn’t “tough” enough.
In an era where concussions are ending more and more players’ careers and the NHL seems to be calling for a culture change, a player shouldn’t be criticized because they aren’t “tough.” This isn’t 1975.
JVR’s size is deceiving. You look at him and want to call him a power forward but that is simply not true. He is a skilled and fast skater with a big body. His size isn’t one of his weapons; it’s just an added bonus.
Whatever happened over the past year between JVR and the Flyers is just that, in the past.
Like JVR, Schenn had yet to win over the Maple Leafs over the past five seasons after not living up to expectations.
That is not to say he hasn’t shown what he is made of.
Schenn, 22, is a right-handed shot from the point who can move with the puck and likes to shut down opponents in his own end, something that will no doubt help Ilya Bryzgalov.
There hasn’t been much said about Chris Pronger’s condition but it’s safe to say that his playing days are numbered, if not sadly expired.
Schenn will not be able to fill Pronger’s shoes but he does model his game after the future Hall of Famer and will help fill up the gaps Pronger’s absence as left.
The Flyers freed up $650,000 in cap space by moving JVR – Schenn’s cap his is $3.6 million and has four years remaining on his five-year contract. You have to believe that this puts the Flyers in position to go after one of the big free-agents.
All of that being said, there really isn’t a true winner in the trade.
Both players have an enormous amount of skill who have yet to let it all out. Both teams addressed the needs of their team.
And both players needed a fresh start to gain their confidence – and game – back.