As the 2017 NHL Draft was underway, the Philadelphia Flyers were in the spotlight as they choose Nolan Patrick, as predicted, with the 2nd overall selection.
Everything was going to script for Flyers fans, until General Manager Ron Hextall traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues. In return, the Flyers received from St. Louis Jori Lehtera, the No.27 pick (Morgan Frost) and a conditional 2018 1st round pick.
However, who can replace the Flyers joint third overall points’ leader? I believe Patrick is earmarked to play as 3rd line centre and putting up Schenn’s statistics is not something he will be expected to do. So what did Schenn bring for the Flyers and whom can the Flyers count on to fill the gap left by his departure?
What did Schenn contribute to the Flyers?
Schenn’s value to the team was in his power play production. Schenn’s 16 PP goals lead the Flyers and his 26P (16G, 10A) meant only Claude Giroux, was more productive with the man advantage.
However, on the first powerplay unit Giroux (5G, 25A), Jacob Voracek (5G, 18A) and Shayne Gostisbehere (2G, 21A) all have substantially more assists than Schenn. Schenn’s goals were more a product of the service he was receiving from his teammates, rather than outstanding personal play.
Flyers fans had been critical of Schenn’s lack of goals 5 on 5. Last season he only managed 4 goals when not being set-up on the power play by the likes of Giroux, Voracek or Gostisbehere. The Flyers excellent power play system, run by Flyers Captain Claude Giroux is ready to set up a new scorer.
Schenn’s position on the Flyers power play in the slot suits a left-handed shot. This is due Claude Giroux running the unit from the left half boards. Giroux’s 25 assists provide a left-handed player in the slot with easily convertible opportunities to tap in. One player screams out as a great match for this role, Flyers prospect 2014 5th round pick Oskar Lindblom.
Oskar Lindblom can replace Schenn’s production
Lindblom has relatively flowed under the radar in comparison to Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
However, when Hextall made this trade he had Lindblom in mind. The Swedish LW has been tearing up the Sweedish Hockey League this season and was named SHL Forward of the Year. The SHL is one of the top leagues in the world, similar to the Kontinetal Hockey League in Russia. To put that into perspective, Lindblom was the top forward, in one of the top leagues in the world.
“In the vote that preceded this, Oskar has been totally superior and in a class by itself” Hockey journalist Hasse Andersson” (Brynas Official Website).
Having a quick look at his stats from last year, in the regular season and playoffs Lindblom had 61 points (26G, 35A) in 82 games. However, points are not the only reason Lindblom will be a great fit on the Flyers powerplay according to line-mate and Bryna’s prolific scorer Kevin Clarke.
“He has speed, he has skill, he has IQ. I think he can play in the NHL already this season if he gets the chance, but it’s up to him and up to Philadelphia. But he is definitely ready”. (hockeyvergie.se)
The Flyers GM has said the Flyers were not shopping Schenn, but this trade just made too much sense to turn down. (NHL.com). There is no denying that Schenn is an excellent power play specialist. Nevertheless, with Lindblom, the Flyers have a younger, cheaper and more rounded player who is ready to improve the Flyers scoring.
Statistics from Hockey Analysis
Featured image from open source enhcance