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James van Riemsdyk, Luke Schenn Trade: Flyers And Leafs Traded For Potential

When the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs decided to swap James van Riemsdyk and Luke Schenn, the two teams traded for more than just players.

The teams traded for potential.

Both van Riemsdyk and Schenn were top-five draft selections and have fallen well short of their projected roles to this point in time.

Each player has shown flashes of what they are expected to be, but neither has had the ability to consistently continue the performances. In essence, as they take two steps forward, they seem to end up one step back.

In the case of van Riemsdyk, he struggled to create a spot for himself in the Flyers lineup.

Failing to connect with any specific player on the roster in terms of on-ice compatibility, it was difficult to pencil van Riemsdyk into the top-six because a trio of players always seemed to connect with one another despite van Riemsdyk being given priority.

Regardless of the experiments, the result always concluded with the former No. 2 overall selection being buried on the third or, sometimes, fourth line, which could not have been where the organization envisioned the player that they extended with a six-year, $25.5 million contract last offseason.

From the Maple Leafs perspective, Schenn was equally as frustrating.

Drafted fifth overall in 2008, the big-bodied defenseman who modeled his game after Chris Pronger and Rob Blake failed to take hold of a spot as a top-pairing blue liner.

Stuck bouncing around the backend and fluxuating in ice-time, Schenn was considered Brian Burke’s golden child a few seasons ago but had since turned into the team’s best asset to address the need to bring in a big-bodied forward.

Enter Paul Holmgren and the Flyers fully stocked forward group.

The two teams each had an asset that the other team needed; the Leafs had a disposable defenseman and the Flyers had the same with the forward. Philadelphia needed a big defenseman with a right-handed shot just as badly as Toronto needed a big forward.

On paper, at least, it’s a perfect match.

The biggest problem from the Flyers end is that they probably should have gotten more for van Reimsdyk.

However, the value of a young, right-handed defenseman with size who has All-Star potential can not be overlooked, especially when looking at the pending-free agent market that will be available come July 1.

When analyzing areas that Schenn needs to improve upon in the coming years, turnovers are at the top of the list.

In his four years in the NHL, the 22-year old has led the Leafs in turnovers in two seasons (both times finsihing in the top-10 in the entire league, even leading the league with 95 in 2010-11).

The most encouraging part of Schenn’s four years in the NHL is that he has played in a majority of it, dressing in 310 of a possible 328 games. Any way you slice it, it’s important that a defenseman is able to play in a lot of games, especially one who plays on a perennial playoff contender like the Flyers.

Ultimately, this trade is going to be talked about for a while.

Whenever a team moves a player with the potential that van Riemsdyk has, it’s going to ruffle some feathers and leave some with a bad taste in their mouth.

Some even feel as though Holmgren betrayed van Riemsdyk by trading him after the contract extension and reports that Holmgren told the player he wasn't going to be traded.

However, it hasn’t left JvR any worse for wear as he is excited by the prospects of playing in Toronto and has handled the situation with class and dignity just as he handled the trade rumors during the season.

"That's between me and Homer," van Riemsdyk said on Saturday via conference call when asked if the Flyers GM told him he wasn't going to be traded.

"Homer is a great man. I have a lot of respect for him and what he does. I think the world of him. I don't have anything bad to say about him or anything like that."


Via his agent’s twitter account:





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