Former Philadelphia Flyers Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn and Mike Richards are finding new, and perhaps unexpected, lives with new teams
Admit it. As a Philadelphia Flyers fan you were grinning like a thief with the news that they dumped both Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier in a trade last week with the Los Angeles Kings. On top of that, they even received a nice young player in return in Jordan Weal.
That’s not to say Flyers fans wished ill upon Lecavalier or Schenn, or felt particular schadenfreude towards the Kings. It was just addition by subtraction for the Flyers, and a boost to the Flyers cap space going forward that felt impossible before the sudden news. Two weeks after the trade, nothing so dramatic has transpired to fundamentally change that calculus, but the initial returns on the deal may surprise many in Philadelphia and around the league.
The promising youngster who looked forward to new opportunities in Philadelphia, has yet to debut for the Flyers. Meanwhile, Schenn and Lecavalier, deadweights to the Flyers lineup, are fitting in nicely in Los Angeles.
Luke Schenn has played 6 games for the Kings, in which time they have gone 4-1-1. Schenn is playing about 18 minutes a night, mostly with Christian Ehrhoff or Alec Martinez. He’s hasn’t registered a point, and is -3. His last 2 games with Martinez on the second pair didn’t lead to great stats, and he played on the third pair with Ehrhoff in the most recent game. He’s also been in two fights.
Even if the stats don’t look great, the Kings seem happy thus far. He is filling in the role they wanted, being a physical, stay-at-home guy filling in for the injured Matt Greene. “I think he was a difference maker in two of the games [he’s played in], for sure,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “He’s made really good plays [leading to us scoring] goals, not get noticed, get pucks back, and knock guys on their [rear ends] to get pucks back. Last night (January 17), say what you want, but that [fight against Anaheim Ducks forward Chris Stewart] was a big difference.”
The Kings are only looking for limited contributions from Schenn, but those particular contributions are right in Schenn’s wheelhouse. He just might turn out to be a fit for the rest of this season.
Vincent Lecavalier has played in the same 6 games with the Kings as Schenn. He was eased into the lineup at first, but played bigger minutes with better players the last few games. He hasn’t exactly been killing it on the Corsi scale, but nonetheless he has goals in 3 straight games, all on the power play. He had 3 goals in his last 32 games as a Flyer stretching back to last season, for point of comparison.
Lecavalier is definitely playing harder since being given a last chance on a new team. In his 6 games with the Kings, he has been credited with 7 hits and 5 blocked shots. In 7 games with the Flyers this season, he had only 2 hits and 1 blocked shot. It’s a little frustrating that, even at worst, he couldn’t score some power play goals in Philadelphia. Only time will tell if he can keep this up in Los Angeles for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Mike Richards wasn’t in this latest trade, but once upon a time he was also traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Some have argued that LA “won” the trade because Richards won 2 Stanley Cups there, but as of today Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn are skating in the Flyers top six. Richards, meanwhile, had a fall from grace in LA resulting in a unique buyout situation that LA GM Lombardi called part of the worst decision of his career.
It’s all a bit of a long story, but now Mike Richards finds himself with the Washington Capitals. He has only appeared in 3 games there thus far, and no points yet. He’s playing on the fourth line and the PK. That, plus winning a few faceoffs, is probably all the Caps are going to ask of him.
Playing for the Cup
None of Lecavalier, Schenn, nor Richards are sure bets with their new teams. Things are off to a good start in modest roles, but none of the three are expected to stick with those teams beyond this season. Regardless of those lowered expectations, each one of those players must be pretty happy with their current status.
Their chances to make an impact with the Philadelphia Flyers were over. Now the trio finds themselves as role players on what may be the two best teams in the league. It wouldn’t surprise many to see the Caps and Kings meet in the finals. If that happens, Flyers fans could watch that series with a bit of increased intrigue, and maybe even a bit of a rooting interest for their former brothers.
Would you root for any of the former Flyers in the playoffs? How would you feel about Richards winning a third cup with a team other than the Flyers? Still salty about the Schenn for JVR trade?