Over in his weekly 30 Thoughts column, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman shed some light on the Philadelphia Flyers' ongoing attempts to trade defenseman Luke Schenn.
"Wait, there are attempts to trade Luke Schenn?" Yeah, there are. And it's apparently been hard for the Flyers to get any traction in negotiations. Let's hear more from Friedman:
Why has it been so difficult for Philadelphia to trade Luke Schenn?
Still only 26, unrestricted after this season, so many teams looking for defensive help. You figure someone would take a look at him. (Ron Hextall would not comment.) Checking with some execs and scouts, a few reasons emerged.
If the Flyers don’t want to take money back, it limits the ability to trade him. That is probably a factor. Schenn needs structure to cover up his lack of speed, and the Flyers are still working to create that. One scout thought that issue was exacerbated by trips to the World Championships, because his game is not built for the bigger ice surface and several teams saw him there. Another GM said he believes the market for Schenn will grow as more of his salary is spent.
There's a bit to unpack there.
For starters, there's that pesky requirement in the collective bargaining agreement* that requires the Flyers to trade both Schenn Brothers at the same time, or else they must move the franchise to Mexico City. Rules are rules.
The sheer fact that the Flyers are looking to move Schenn says a lot. At this moment, I'd put him as the Flyers' fourth-best defenseman behind Mark Streit, Evgeny Medvedev and Michael Del Zotto. Teams that have high aspirations for their current season don't look around to trade their fourth-best defenseman, do they?
So the fact that the Flyers are doing that says a lot about where Ron Hextall's head is at right now. This shouldn't be surprising because it's been his M.O. since taking the job as GM, but it's telling nonetheless.
Further, if the Flyers are looking for "structure to cover up [Schenn's] lack of speed," then pairing him with Nick Schultz as they did on Monday night in Vancouver (and have for a good chunk of the season) seems ill-advised. Maybe switch that up. Give him some speed to play with. Michael Del Zotto? I don't know, man. Dave Hakstol is going to be in such a rough spot with his defense all year because they're just not very good. It's not an enviable position.
I'm not sure what kind of return to expect for Luke Schenn, but given Friedman's report, I'd be surprised if it happened in the near future. Maybe as we approach the February 29 trade deadline we'll have more clarity. Then again, you never know when one injury could have a team calling...
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* may not be a real requirement