When the Philadelphia Flyers traded James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn this offseason, many Flyers’ fans were excited. But when injuries to depth defensive players Andrej Meszaros and Andreas Lilja arose, a sense of urgency and nervousness began to grow as well.
Before the injuries happened, the Flyers were set up perfectly on defense. They had depth for their secondary defensive pairing with players such as Schenn, Lilja, Meszaros, Erik Gustafsson, Brandon Manning, Marc-Andre Bourdon, and Bruno Gervais. Now that the injuries have taken place, the trade for Schenn looks like it could be a big storyline for the 2012-2013 season.
I believe that Schenn could be productive as a Flyer. I also think that if he is mentored by the right players, Schenn could be the next star defenseman in Philadelphia.
Schenn has been labeled by some as a bust. He was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the 5th overall pick of the 2008 draft. In his first four NHL seasons, Schenn has recorded a total of 75 points and had a total plus/minus of -23. That is not the level of play that a first round pick should play at. Granted, Schenn did play for a mediocre team in Toronto.
This season, Schenn will turn 23. He will be playing on a team with his brother, Brayden Schenn. Schenn has a lot to prove to the city of Philadelphia. A big season could be on the horizon for Schenn and the Flyers. Schenn finally comes to a team that has veteran defensemen who could help him. If Schenn can work with Kimmo Timonen and talk with a player such as Chris Pronger, he will learn so much about the game of hockey. Having Timonen and Pronger in the system could pay big dividends for the Flyers. The Flyers should view Pronger and Timonen as mentors, just as Jaromir Jagr was eventually viewed, after the success of Claude Giroux and many younger players.
I believe that through this mentorship, Schenn could succeed in Philadelphia just as his brother did, I believe he could be a star, but I strongly believe that Schenn just needed to be placed in the right system with the right veteran leadership. If GM Paul Holmgren knows the quality of the player he traded for, which I know he does, then the Flyers have struck gold with the trade from earlier in the summer.
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