The NHL draft was in Pittsburgh, but there's been a distinctly Philadelphian influence to the festivities. It's been all brotherly love this weekend. On Friday, we saw a partial family reunion when the Hurricanes acquired Jordan Staal from the Penguins. A day later, Philadelphia got into the spirit themselves, bringing the Schenn brothers together in a trade with Toronto.
The Flyers have acquired defenceman Luke Schenn from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward James van Riemsdyk.
Again, that's Schenn for van Riemsdyk straight up. Now, both players are still young enough that it's hard to say who will be the better piece long-term, and after last season's curious offseason deals wound up sort of working for Paul Holmgren, we'll hold off on calling him a crazy person, but man, it's tough to say Leafs GM Brian Burke didn't come out on top here.
Granted, van Riemsdyk's stock dipped a bit this season. After a great 2010-11 campaign in which he put up 20 goals in the regular season and another 7 in just 11 postseason games, his follow-up in 2011-12 was riddled with injuries and inconsistency. But even with the stumble, we'd have thought the only people believing van Riemsdyk could be had for Schenn in a one-for-one were Torontonians. If we didn't see both GMs in Pittsburgh today, we'd wonder if maybe Burke had dragged Holmgren into Ontario and exposed him to the air.
The Flyers were dealing somewhat from a position of need. With Chris Pronger's return looking less and less likely, they had to have another defender. It's possible that this weakened their bargaining strength and made the swap a possibility.
It's also possible the same thing could happen to Burke now that he's further thinned an already thin back end and made it even more unlikely that a platoon of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens can cover for it. Can he make upgrades to the blueline and goaltending at a reasonable cost when they've gone from something he'd like to do to something he must do?
This deal has been rumoured for quite some time. Back In January, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that trade talks were ongoing, and Burke gave some credence to the rumours when he discussed his preference for what he called an age-group asset trade. From NHL.com:
"I do think there is room for age-group asset trades," Burke said. "If you trade a 22-year-old and get back a 22-year-old that plays a different position, that's an age-group asset trade. I'm not giving away any future; I'm making a bet on what it does for our team. That's a possibility."
At the time, both Van Riemsdyk and Schenn were 22.
But Van Riemsdyk is actually 23 now. Way to mortgage the future, Burke.