Rarely in sports do we see a trade that actually works out well and ends with both teams finding what they were looking for in the players that they acquired. But that may be just what we have in the James van Riemsdyk/Luke Schenn trade from last summer.
Despite losing Jaromir Jagr in free agency, the Philadelphia Flyers elected to send even more offense away when they dealt JvR to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the former top five draft pick in Schenn. The move presented questions on both sides.
The Flyers were trading for a guy who put up very few points on the blue line and often demonstrated inconsistency with his defensive play. The Leafs were bringing in a guy who failed to live up to a big contract and find any sort of consistency on the stat sheet. You can guess how fans on both sides probably would have reacted, given the markets.
But at this point it’s unlikely you’ll find too many around each organization complaining about the deal that their respective team made. Both players are taking advantage of the change of scenery and providing exactly what each team was looking for.
The Flyers were looking for a shutdown defenseman. Of course, they were looking for multiple defensemen, including a top pairing guy, which many likely thought Schenn was acquired to be. Schenn has filled that shutdown role very well, though. He’s one of the most physical defensemen in the league and is playing very well against top tier competition, especially in the Flyers’ own division.
JvR’s success has been a bit louder, mostly due to the fact that he’s making a big difference on the stat sheet. He has 10 points in 13 games, including eight goals. If this was a full 82-game season, he’d easily blow away his career numbers. But he is on pace to notch a new career high in goals, as he’s almost halfway there already.
Regardless of what the numbers may indicate, each team got what they wanted in this trade. The early success of each of them has resulted in each fan base thinking that they robbed the other side in the deal, rather than the other way around, as it initially was.