Ron Hextall stated the obvious in an interview with CSN's John Boruk earlier this week, saying that signing Brayden Schenn is his "first priority" this offseason. And that makes perfect sense for any number of reasons: He's a top-6 forward, and he's a restricted free agent, under the Flyers control. Not signing him would be very stupid.
Watch Hexy talk here:
Hextall talked a bit there about Schenn's growth as a player, and saying that he's pleased with it even if Schenn does still have plenty of room to grow. He said that he'd like to see Schenn get nailed down as either a center or a winger, and that flipping around isn't good for him. Hard to disagree.
But what about the chances Schenn goes elsewhere?
Hextall mentioned back when he was hired as general manager that he'd evaluate how players fit with the current team and adjust based off of that, but also that he's not really fond of trading young players with upside for over-the-hill talent, as the Flyers have done often in the past.
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What will new contract cost?
•Broad Street HockeyThe Flyers signed three of their four young, pending 2014 free-agents this past summer in Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Matt Read. That leaves just Brayden Schenn remaining. What's it going to cost?
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"My vision is to build this team and continue to make this team better through the draft," Hextall said. "That doesn’t mean we won’t make trades. It doesn’t mean at some point, if it’s a good enough player and we’ve got to trade a young player, we may look at that. But it’s not a vision of mine to trade young players for older players. It would have to be a really, really strong deal for us."
"I look forward to seeing if we can move pieces for a better fit or whatever, and obviously get guys signed to fair deals that will fit under the cap. There’s a little bit of manipulation in every area where we’ve got to look at everything. Maybe we can shave a little bit off here and get a little bit lesser player, but open some space up. Again, someone else has got to be willing to deal."
Based on that pair of quotes, moving Schenn in a trade seems pretty unlikely -- unless it was in a trade for a key, young defenseman who could help the Flyers fill that gaping void on their blue line. And that seems like it would only come if the Flyers determine that Schenn's a bad fit on their current roster, if what Hextall's on record saying is to be believed.
Even if that trade were to come up, it's probably not something Hextall could predict right now, and it's probably not something an opposing team would consider unless Schenn is under contract for next season.
All in all, Hextall didn't say too much in this interview clip, and he didn't really tell us more than we already know. They're going to try to sign Brayden Schenn sooner than later, they like his upward trajectory, even if there are clearly things he still needs to work on.