Brayden Schenn has been playing very well for the Flyers recently. Through 47 games Schenn has 29 points (12G, 17A) and has points in 6 of the last 10 games. After struggling through the middle portion of the first half of the season he has started to produce at very reasonable pace and has helped the Flyers to win games. With Schenn becoming a RFA this summer and with no new contract in place yet, it brings up a point of discussion concerning his role and future with the team.
So where does Schenn fit in with this team? I do think there is an argument for and against him to remain a member of the Flyers. Schenn is no doubt a very good asset to have on the team whether it be as trade bait or an actual player.
The issue for Schenn is there is a wealth of quality centers on the Flyers. He is definitely capable of playing 2nd line minutes and even 1st line minutes on some teams, but that is not an issue with the Flyers. Even though I do think he would be best in a first or second line role, he would also make a very good 3rd line center.
So why not let him keep his 2nd line position or move him down to 3rd line? As mentioned the Flyers have a logjam of centers that have already established themselves as top tier players (Giroux and Couturier) or high potential prospects (Laughton). There is also Lecavalier, who I think makes for a better winger on this team as opposed to a centerman because of his abysmal possession numbers, but that is a completely different topic. So there isn’t a lot of room for Schenn going forward at center. There is the potential that Schenn could move to the wing, but I’m not sure how well he would fit in this position based on his previous play there. I would much rather opt for a true winger in this case.
So what does this mean? I think it means that Schenn maybe better off being used in a trade somewhere to acquire a defenseman to help solidify the Flyers’ blueline. A team should always trade from an area of strength for an area of weakness and I think if a package of players, picks, and prospects is put together (including Schenn) that would allow the Flyers to acquire such a player it should be done. I think that he could yield high returns because of his ability/potential to play top line minutes on another team instead of letting him playing fewer minutes on the Flyers in a few years (this is assuming Laughton pans out, leaving Giroux, Couturier, and Laughton down the middle).
One final thing I wanted to touch on is why I think Schenn should be moved over Couturier. First of all Couturier is younger and has already established himself as top notch penalty killer and a defensive force in this league. On top of that I believe that he has a higher offensive potential compared to Schenn. When given minutes, Couturier has demonstrated that he can produce even with 3rd line players. He has also done this while facing the toughest competition on opposing teams. I feel that this makes Couturier untouchable and if it comes down to having to move one of the two I think Schenn goes.
I do think Schenn is a great player and has played very well for the Flyers. Ultimately, I think the decision to move Schenn will come down to what kind of contract he receives, if any, or if the right trade offer comes around in the meantime. I do not think Schenn should be moved just for the sake of moving him because of the Flyers talent at center.
I would like to hear your thoughts on Schenn so leave a comment or tweet @jchillari52