Luke Schenn (right) pictured in Flyers gear for the first time at Bauer Pro Camp
As the trade deadline approached last season, rumors of the Philadelphia Flyers trading James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Luke Schenn floated around. At the end of the day, both players remained on their respected teams.
Apparently, after the season had ended, both teams still had interest in executing this trade. On June 23, the trade occured and Luke Schenn was officially a Flyer.
Schenn, 22, will be joining his younger brother, Brayden, 20, in Philadelphia.
"It's just surreal right now. It's going to be exciting to play with my brother, that's for sure. I can't describe how cool this is." -Luke Schenn on playing with Brayden
It is now mid-August in an off-season that hasn't been so great for the Flyers, especially defensively.
It appears that Chris Pronger, who is struggling with severe post-concussion syndrome, will never re-join the Flyers defense. The Flyers lost one of their top defenseman in Matt Carle when he signed with Tampa Bay. Andrej Meszaros, who just underwent surgery on his torn right achilles tendon, will be out indefinitely. And the latest news is that Andreas Lilja had hip surgery and isn't expected back until late October or early November.
After running down that list of hits to the Flyers defense, the acquisition of Luke Schenn in late June becomes all the more crucial.
Schenn was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the 5th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Although a young player in the league, Luke already has 4 years of NHL experience. He is currently signed to a 5 year/$18M contract ($3.6M per year) that runs through the 2015-16 season.
Luke Schenn will bring a lot to the Flyers' defense. The 22 year-old has good skating ability and is an excellent shutdown defenseman who plays a good positional game. He has an outstanding shot from the point, but his offensive instincts are continuing to develop. Luke is a good, young defenseman in this league who has a ton of upside.
Luke Schenn's career statistics
Luke Schenn is very well-known for his physical play. Last season, he finished 7th amongst hit leaders in the NHL with 270. His aggressiveness and willingness to take the body is a style of play that is valued very highly by the Flyers organization.
After watching the Flyers defense grow weaker as summer carried on, the addition of Luke Schenn to the blue line is a lot more important than it was in June.
Schenn will be one of the younger guys who is expected to step up and play a bigger role on the team. The huge difference between him and Bourdon/Gustafsson is that he is a somewhat proven defenseman in this league who is going into his fifth NHL season. At the end of the day, the extra experience he brings to the team is very important to the Flyers.
Not only will Luke Schenn be able to help the Flyers now, but also in the future. At this stage in his career, he is only a second or third pairing defenseman. However, Schenn has an incredible amount of upside and could end up being a top blue-liner at some point in his career.
Had the Flyers not dealt James van Riemsdyk to Toronto in exchange for Luke Schenn, our defense really would've had some problems. Not only does Schenn's game bring a lot to the table, but he is right-handed shot, something the Flyers have very few of (only other is Bruno Gervais).
The addition of Luke Schenn in late June will be huge for the Flyers defense this season, especially with all of the losses they have suffered.
What do you guys think about Luke Schenn? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Please enjoy this video of Luke Schenn's massive hit on Evgeni Malkin followed by him destroying Tyler Kennedy in a fight. I have a feeling that Flyers fans are really going to like this guy....
Andrew Dintino is a Lead Contributer/Flyers Analyst for Buzz on Broad and the head Flyers writer for The Hockey House.
You can follow him on twitter @AndrewD48 for all of the latest happenings regarding the Philadelphia Flyers.