As much negative attention as this defensive group for the Philadelphia Flyers has received for their lack of depth this summer, it’s almost been forgotten that Luke Schenn is on this team.
Though he’s obviously no savior, Schenn was brought in earlier in the offseason to provide some depth to the blue line. Of course, thanks to injury, he’s going to be relied on a lot more than was initially thought, which may be unnerving for some fans in Philadelphia.
Many would argue that the Flyers overpaid for Schenn, when they traded James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs to acquire him. There’s certainly a case to be made when you compare the talent level of the two, but the fact that the Flyers needed defense so much more than offense made the trade necessary.
It’s very easy to forget that Schenn is barely 23 years of age and has only been in the league for four years. Playing in Toronto, especially with the disappointing squads they’ve iced the past few years, is a daunting task for any youngster trying to break into the league.
Schenn isn’t going to come in and be able to replace the offense that Matt Carle brought. That’s not his game. He may be expected to provide some points on the stat sheet with all of the injuries that the team has dealt with, but where Luke Schenn earns his paycheck is in the physical game.
One thing you can be absolutely sure the Flyers are going to get out of Schenn is the fact that he’s going to be physical. He laid the lumber to the tune of 270 hits last season. If he can come a little further along in his development, mainly his skating, he can be one of the better shut down defensemen in the league.
It’s hard to overstate how a change of scenery could benefit a player, especially when leaving a market like Toronto. With a fresh start in Philly, where his brother Brayden Schenn already resides, should be a nice boost for Schenn to begin with. He might not be the star that many were expecting as the no. 5 overall pick back in 2008, but he should prove to be better than expected for this Flyers squad.