Maple Leafs Trade Luke Schenn to Flyers for James van Riemsdyk

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJune 23, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 07:  Luke Schenn #2, Jean-Sebastien Giguere #35, and Tyler Bozak #42 of the Toronto Maple Leafs defend against James van Riemsdyk #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers on March 7, 2010 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Leafs 3-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in exchange for winger James van Riemsdyk, according to Darren Dreger of TSN:

Breaking News!!!!Toronto trades Luke Schenn to Flyers for James Van RiemsDyk.Done deal. #TSN

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 23, 2012

This is not the first time we have heard these two names mentioned in a possible trade, but since the deal has the potential to help both teams, it was certainly worth making.

Schenn has four more years left on his current contract with a $3.6 million salary-cap hit, while van Riemsdyk's new contract extension starts next season. It has a $4.25 million salary-cap hit.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke spoke about the trade via the team's official web site:

We are really excited by the parts of the game that James will bring to the Leafs. He will provide speed, size, and finesse to our top two lines and we know that he fits those needs that we have wanted to address for some time. We thank Luke for his tremendous on and off ice contributions to our organization. He’s a true professional and we wish him the very best in Philadelphia.

After the Flyers did not draft a defenseman with their first-round pick, many wondered if they would look in the trade or free-agent markets for an upgrade on the blue line.

Schenn is a physical defenseman with a lot of talent and will be better off away from the intense media and fan pressure of the Toronto market. A change of scenery will likely benefit him greatly. He also gets to play with his brother Brayden—a center on the Flyers.

Van Riemsdyk doesn't give the Leafs a top-of-the-line center, but he is a quality goal scorer who can be a legitimate star when healthy. The Leafs need a big forward who can be a factor offensively, and JVR certainly can be that kind of player for them.

OTTAWA, CANADA - MARCH 17: Luke Schenn #2 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in his 300th career NHL game during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on March 17, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle P
Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

He was the second overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft but never realized his potential with the Flyers. Injuries played a part in that, but with so many talented young forwards on the roster, Philadelphia would have been smart to trade one or two of them for some help on the blue line.

Chris Pronger's injury has left the Flyers with the need for another top-four defenseman who can use his size to impact games defensively. Schenn won't play as well as a healthy Pronger, but he will certainly upgrade the Flyers' defensive depth.

This is a trade that will likely work out for both teams because each player needs a fresh start and will help their new clubs address weaknesses on the roster.