Throw away all expectations, because Luke Schenn’s first year as a Philadelphia Flyer failed to reach them, let alone exceed them.
Schenn came to Philadelphia in the oft-criticized trade of forward James van Reimsdyk. The offseason trade occurred after Flyers general manager had turned down the deal at the 2012 trade deadline.
So what made Schenn more attractable in the offseason?
The 23-year old defenseman had fallen out of favor in Toronto, routinely becoming a healthy scratch. Schenn, the f5th overall pick in the 2008 draft, needed a new start, one he found in Philadelphia.
The elder brother of Flyers forward Brayden, Luke came to Philadelphia to provide youth on an aging defense. What the young defenseman did instead was provide stability to the backend, something for which it had searched long and hard.
Schenn’s Philadelphia story was not all peaches and cream. Known to lay the hammer on opponents with crushing hits, Schenn routinely took himself out of the play to make a big hit, often leading to a scoring chance for the opposing team.
The initial response to trading the popular JVR for the out-of-favor Schenn was not positive. But, once paired with veteran blue liner Kimmo Timonen, things began to click for the young Canadian.
Schenn would go on to lead the team in ice time, averaging just shy of 22 minutes per game. He would also lead the team in hits and blocked shots. Never much of a scorer, Schenn notched three goals and eight assists in 47 games.
Coming to Philadelphia provided Luke Schenn with a new beginning and the opportunity to play with his brother. The elder Schenn has a $3.6 million salary cap hit for the next three years. Based on his current contract and young age, Schenn has the opportunity to outperform his contract during his time in the Orange and the Black.
Not all Flyer acquisitions succeed within their first year in Philadelphia, but Schenn’s tough beginning did not stymie his end result. The young defenseman showed a knack for making a big hit, yet used his smarts to not take himself out of position (possibly due to the tutelage of Timonen).
If Schenn continues to progress, his acquisition will be a tremendous success and leave Flyers wondering how they were able to steal a top-four defenseman.