The Flyers clearly showed they had no intention of bringing pending free agent Luke Schenn back next year. Rather than negotiate a contract extension with him, they traded the defenseman – along with Vinny Lecavalier – to the Kings in early January.
The jury is still out on his brother, though.
Brayden Schenn is a restricted free agent after this season, which means the Flyers can match any offer he receives from another team, sign him to a deal or let him walk. The 24 year old, earning $2.75 million this year, is making the organization’s decision a difficult one with his recent play.
With his go-ahead goal in the second period and assist – his second of the night – on the game-winner on the power play late in the third during Tuesday’s crucial 6-3 win over the Devils, Schenn now has eight goals and six assists in his last 17 games. The hot spell, which also includes seven goals in his last 12 games, oddly started when his brother was shipped to L.A.
His 17 goals and eight power-play markers this season trail only Wayne Simmonds for the team lead in both categories. Plus, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft is also on pace to score a career-high 24 goals and surpass last year’s career-high 47 points.
Much of his success is attributed to his stability on the same line. After jockeying between the first and second units last year under coach Craig Berube, first-year coach Dave Hakstol has found a home for Schenn as the right winger on the second line. He’s played most of the season with center Sean Couturier, who has also blossomed this season.
However, with Couturier still out with a lower body injury and the team struggling to score goals, Hakstol juggled his lines against the Devils. He put Schenn on the left side with center Claude Giroux and right-winger Wayne Simmonds, which helped him produce his first three-point night since Jan. 5 and just the second time all season.
“I’ve played a lot with [Simmonds], but not recently," Schenn told reporters after the game. “I know what he’s all about. He's a straight-line hockey player. He's going to win his battles and go in front of the net.
“He's really easy to play with and having an opportunity to play with him and Giroux, I just tried to make the most of it.”
Schenn arrived in Philly in the Mike Richards deal in the summer of 2011. Whether or not he remains here beyond 2016 will likely depend on him continuing to make the most of his opportunities for the rest of the season.