Speculation is brewing in Philadelphia over possible moves by the Flyers to shed salary and free up a roster spot for an affordable young player before the start of the upcoming season. The Flyers currently have just over $583K in salary-cap space, giving them no wiggle room to promote a deserving prospect.
CSNPhilly.com's Greg Paone reports defenseman Luke Schenn seems the most likely to move. The 25-year-old has one season remaining on his contract worth $3.35 million. NJ.com's Randy Miller claims the Flyers tried dumping Schenn's $3.6-million cap hit for the past two years. He speculates they might get a third-round pick in return.
Though Paone observes Schenn hasn't developed into a top-pairing blueliner, the 6-foot-2, 229-pounder has the size and big shot that could prove useful to a rival club. He also lists Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald as trade options, but the 37-year-old Streit is getting long in the tooth while few clubs will have interest in MacDonald's $5-million annual cap hit.
NBC Sports' Mike Halford, meanwhile, speculates Luke's brother Brayden could become a trade candidate. He cites a report noting GM Ron Hextall's tepid analysis of the 24-year-old winger's performance (“Brayden's been OK,” said Hextall in a recent media scrum) which suggested the younger Schenn might not fit into the Flyers long-term plans.
Brayden is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer. Halford pointed out Hextall declined to offer the winger a contract extension after locking up Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek to long-term deals. A versatile forward who can play center or wing, Brayden enters 2015-16 with two straight 40-plus point performances on his resume.
Of the Schenn brothers, Brayden could have the most value but moving him could effect their scoring depth, whereas the Flyers defensive depth suggests Luke would be the more likely trade candidate. The Boston Bruins could be a trade partner, as they're in need of depth after losing Dennis Seidenberg for two months following recent back surgery.
Philly.com's Sam Carchidi also reports Hextall is trying to move Luke Schenn, as well as veteran forwards Vincent Lecavalier and R.J. Umberger. With Lecavalier and Umberger now in their mid-thirties and each carrying contracts with over $4-million cap hits, it's unlikely the Flyers GM will find takers for those two.
COULD VERSTEEG MOVE AGAIN?
Carolina Hurricanes winger Kris Versteeg could be worth watching later this season as a possible trade candidate.
Prior to the recent trade that sent Versteeg from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Hurricanes, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the Winnipeg Jets had some interest in the 29-year-old. Depending upon the performance of Alexander Burmistrov this season, perhaps the Jets could revisit their pursuit of Versteeg near the trade deadline.
An unrestricted free agent in July, Versteeg could opt to test the market instead of re-signing with the Hurricanes, especially if he regains the 20-goal, 40-plus point form from earlier in his career. Factor in his experience skating on two Stanley Cup championship rosters in Chicago, and he could become a valuable rental player for post-season contenders seeking depth at right wing.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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