Leafs, Flyers trade all about potential

- June 23rd, 2012

When it comes right down to it, the Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers traded potential for potential on Saturday afternoon.
Forward James van Riemsdyk could develop into a legitimate sniper who scores upward of 30-35 goals a year for the Leafs.
For the Flyers, defenceman Luke Schenn could finally realize the potential the Leafs saw in him when they selected him fifth overall just four years ago.
Now, though, it’s not easy to definitively say what each player will bring for his new team.
In van Riemsdyk, the Leafs don’t address the need for a greater physical presence up front, but they have added a 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward who isn’t afraid to go into the corners. Just don’t expect him to knock anyone over on his way there.
Certainly, van Riemsdyk, who has a knack for the net, shouldn’t be seen as a saviour for the Leafs at forward. The 23-year-old kid can play, but the Leafs need more than just a guy who has 47 goals in 197 career NHL games.
The native of Middletown, N.J., is just one piece for a Toronto club that missed the playoffs by a dozen points in 2011-12. And the Leafs have to hope that the injury troubles that limited van Riemsdyk to 43 games last season are history.
In Schenn, the Leafs have said goodbye to someone who became a steady voice in the locker room but struggled on the ice. He averaged 16 minutes two seconds of ice time this past season, his lowest in four years in the NHL. Not unlike goalie Jonas Gustavsson, whose rights were traded to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, Schenn often had confidence issues last season.
With the trading of Schenn – a deal that was rumoured to be happening during the winter but denied by Burke – the GM’s job of reshaping the Leafs doesn’t get any easier.
He still needs to add a No. 1 centre and a veteran goalie, and he again was adamant on Saturday in Pittsburgh a few hours before sending Schenn to Philly that he will not part with Jake Gardiner under any circumstance. With Schenn gone and Gardiner going nowhere, Burke’s options for more trading have decreased by two.
If you’re one of young forwards Joe Colborne or Nazem Kadri, you might not want to put a down payment on a house in Toronto.

Categories: Hockey

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