Trade speculation is swirling around the Flyers’ Schenn brothers, plus an update on New York Islanders winger Kyle Okposo.
Schenns on the block?
CSNPHILLY.COM: Among Greg Paone’s storylines to watch during the Philadelphia Flyers preseason is the status of defenseman Luke Schenn, who could be dealt to make room for one of their younger blueliners. While Schenn hasn’t become the top-pairing defenseman he was envisioned to be when drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008, the 6’2″, 229-pounder is still a physical rearguard who only has a year left on his contract worth $3.35 million. Paone also speculates veteran Mark Streit could be a trade candidate, but doubts a rival club will bite on Andrew MacDonald’s $5 million cap hit for the next five years.
NJ.COM: Randy Miller claims the Flyers have been trying to dump Schenn’s $3.6 million cap hit for the past two years, suggesting it could happen before the regular season. He doubts the Flyers will get more than a third-round pick, but claims management is desperate to turn the page on the June 2012 deal that brought Schenn from Toronto to Philadelphia in exchange for winger James van Riemsdyk.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford welcomes Luke’s brother Brayden Schenn to the NHL rumor mill, citing comments by Flyers GM Ron Hextall which seems to suggest Brayden might not have a long-term future in Philadelphia. Halford notes Schenn has spent all of preseason thus far skating on a “fifth line” with two AHL players. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent next summer, but the club seems reluctant about inking him to a long-term extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are sitting with just over $70 million in cap payroll, leaving them little room to add promising youngsters from within their system. Of the Schenns, Brayden seems to have the most trade value, but moving him could hurt their scoring depth. Luke seems the more likely trade candidate, given the Flyers depth in promising blueliners. The Boston Bruins, who just lost Dennis Seidenberg to back surgery for eight weeks and could also have Zdeno Chara on the sidelines following an upper-body injury suffered in recent preseason play, could become a trade partner.
Update on Kyle Okposo.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo admits it’s a “different feeling” to hear his name in recent trade rumors after having had job security with the club for the past several years. Eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, the 27-year-old Okposo is motivated to have a strong performance in his contract year. While the Islanders have some depth at forward, Cyrgalis notes that hardly makes Okposo expendable. Islanders coach Jack Capuano praised the winger for his leadership and what he brings to the team. Cyrgalis believes it’s up to GM Garth Snow to decide if trading Okposo is the best thing for his club now or if he’ll work toward re-signing him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t understand why some pundits feel Okposo could be a goner during preseason or early in the regular season. Unless one of the Isles young forwards steps up and sends Okposo tumbling down their depth chart, trading him could hurt their offensive punch. I understand it’s his UFA status next summer and the possibility he could prove too expensive to re-sign that driving the speculation. However, the best time to trade Okposo is near the Feb. 29 trade deadline, and then only if the Isles are either out of playoff contention or he’s lost his spot on their top-two lines. Their chances of returning to the playoffs, and perhaps advancing past the first round, are better with Okposo in the lineup.