Flyers

Flyers trade Brayden Schenn to Blues for No. 27 Morgan Frost, Jori Lehtera, additional pick

Flyers trade Brayden Schenn to Blues for No. 27 Morgan Frost, Jori Lehtera, additional pick

Let the wheeling and dealing begin.

After drafting Nolan Patrick No. 2 overall (see story), Flyers general manager Ron Hextall did not stay quiet to finish Day 1 of the NHL draft.

The Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for the 27th pick (Morgan Frost), Jori Lehtera and a conditional first-round pick in 2018 on Friday night.

Last season, Schenn, fresh off a new contract, finished second on the Flyers with 25 goals and third with 55 points. The 25-year-old forward flourished on the power play in which he scored 17 goals, tied for the NHL lead with Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov.

"Not like we were shopping Brayden," Hextall said (see story).
 
"This deal came along and we really like the draft next year. We like the late pick this year and Jori. It made sense and we got a couple more young players."

Schenn and the Flyers just narrowly avoided arbitration last offseason when the RFA signed a four-year, $20.5 million deal for a cap hit of $5.125 million.

Schenn was surprised by the trade.

"I didn't see it coming at all," he said to CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio. "But I am excited to go to St. Louis."

Lehtera, a center, comes older but cheaper than Schenn. The 29-year-old is under contract for the next two seasons with a cap hit of $4.7 million.

In 64 games last season with the Blues, Lehtera (6-2, 210) put up 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists. Known as a versatile but not physical forward, Lehtera has seen his numbers dip each season from his rookie year. In 2014-15, his first NHL season, Lehtera posted 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points and a plus-21 rating — all career bests for the native of Finland. He then recorded 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) the following season.

Frost, an 18-year-old center, put up 67 points (20 goals, 42 assists) in 62 games last season with Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. He is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, and regarded as a "smart and skilled center with a very good offensive hockey sense — excellent vision and anticipation to quickly take advantage of opportunities," according to Central Scouting.

As for the 2018 pick, if it falls in the top 10, St. Louis has the option to defer to its 2019 first-round pick. If the Blues decide to do so, as a result, the Flyers also receive St. Louis' third-round pick in 2020.

The Flyers have 10 more picks remaining in the 2017 draft, which picks back up on Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, finishing with Rounds 2-7.

The Flyers' picks are 44th, 75th, 80th, 106th, 107th, 108th, 137th, 168th, 196th and 199th.

And Hextall may not be done dealing (see story).

Flyers weekly observations: A glaring concern goes on full display

Flyers weekly observations: A glaring concern goes on full display

The Flyers lost all three games this week and ended a five-game homestand a mediocre 2-2-1. Some observations:

• James van Riemsdyk put up a goal and two assists in Saturday's 6-5 overtime loss to the Lightning. In his second game back from injury, the Flyers scored three power-play goals, matching their total from Oct. 13 to Nov. 16, which spanned 43 opportunities.

Think he's a difference-maker?

However, what is truly worrisome is that a glaring concern entering the 2018-19 season was on full display Saturday. We knew the Flyers could score. This team has talent, the power play won't be this bad, pucks will be put in the net.

But can the Flyers stop teams?

With the situation in net and the ongoing penalty-kill woes, the Flyers can score all they want — it might not make a difference.

- Hall

• I didn't think Calvin Pickard played bad Saturday against the Lightning. I believe he was the victim of circumstance.

The Lightning's second goal was leaky but the rest? Ivan Provorov played soft and was outmuscled by Brayden Point, who is two inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter, on the third goal. Wayne Simmonds lost his man on the overtime winner. The other two were PPGs.

Still, Pickard finished with a .769 save percentage. His last start wasn't much better — .778 save percentage. He has a .852 save percentage in eight games. Pickard wasn't bad against Tampa, but the bottom line is, you need your goalie to makes saves and Pickard hasn't shown he's capable of doing it on a consistent basis.

With Brian Elliott out at least two weeks, the Flyers gave Pickard first swing Saturday. It's time to end this experiment. Alex Lyon deserves an opportunity.

- Dougherty

• The Flyers outshot their opponent in each of the three losses during the week.

Overall, they outshot the opposition 105-83 but were outscored 11-6.

For some context, this past week the Maple Leafs registered 104 shots and allowed 107 in three games but went 3-0-0 and outscored the competition 12-6.

It makes you wonder — are the Flyers getting the quality shots you need on a consistent basis to win games?

"We did give up some shots, but they weren’t scoring chances," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the Flyers outshot Tampa 45-26, "so you can shoot a lot of pucks and it’s going to look good on the stat line, but if they’re not quality chances, it’s two-fold."

The Flyers have eight losses when they outshoot an opponent, which is tied for most in the NHL.
 
- Hall

• Through 20 games, the Flyers are 9-9-2. This was expected to be a season this team takes a step forward and a quarter of the way in, the Flyers are again average at best with huge gaping deficiencies. Team defense remains a problem, the goaltending situation has been a total miscalculation by general manager Ron Hextall and the penalty kill has been a disaster.

The Flyers ended this week tying a season high three-game losing streak and while they did so by showing fight — something they didn't do three weeks ago — there needs to be accountability. There's a reason opposing players no longer fear Wells Fargo Center. The fans have been patient than ever but patience grows tired and it's reaching its tipping point.

Just look at the penalty kill — which allowed four power-play goals last week. It's been brutal for the past four seasons and it's been worse than ever. Yet, there's been no change in structure or coach, no accountability. Why?

- Dougherty

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This time, Flyers didn't crumble in face of adversity and that says a lot

This time, Flyers didn't crumble in face of adversity and that says a lot

Three weeks ago, this would not have happened. In fact, we have hard evidence to back this up. The Flyers were gut-punched by the Islanders on Oct. 27 at the Wells Fargo Center and laid down. The end result was a barbarous 6-1 defeat that created social media angst among fans.

On Saturday afternoon, the Flyers’ will was tested again. But this time, the outcome showed us just how far they’ve come since that depressing October Saturday three weeks ago. If there’s such a thing as a character loss, the Flyers’ 6-5 overtime defeat to the Lightning is the face of it (see observations).

This had the making of a story we’ve written before, one in which the Flyers face adversity on home ice and crumble. The Flyers were behind 5-1 in the third period after Tampa capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play for two goals in 51 seconds. Three weeks ago, that’s game, set, match.

Instead, the Flyers rung off four goals in 6:04 to force OT. It’s the ninth time in league history that a team erased a four-goal deficit in a game’s final 10 minutes.

“We showed some good character,” James van Riemsdyk said. “Any time you can get a point when you’re down four goals in the third period, I’d say that’s a pretty good thing. … 

“You want to have good responses. We had some pretty good process-related stuff as far as carrying the play, but we’re paid here and we’re here to get results, so it’s not good enough.”

van Riemsdyk, in his second game back from a knee injury, was a major part of the Flyers’ comeback. He snapped the team’s 0-for-15 power-play drought in the second period with his first goal of the season and had assists on the goal that began the comeback and completed it.

There is a lot to unpack after Saturday. The loss capped off a five-game homestand that began promising but ended leaving much more to be desired — 2-2-1. The Flyers have now lost three straight, tying their season-high losing streak that came after the Islanders loss on Oct. 27. The penalty kill had another merciless effort, allowing three more power-play goals. The Flyers have now allowed an NHL-worst 22 power-play goals and the PK ranks 30th at 68.6 percent.

Claude Giroux became just the fourth player in franchise history to reach 700 points with a two-assist game, which put his total up to 701 (see story). He also moved into a tie with Brian Propp for second all-time in team history with 480 helpers. The Flyers dominated just about every play-driving metric and outshot the Lightning, 45-26. Their power play awoke with three goals.

“It’s hard. We want to take a lot of positives out of that,” said Travis Konecny, who had his fourth career two-goal game. “It shows what we have in the locker room. It’s just tough to look at it that way. (Head coach Dave Hakstol) comes in between the second and third and says we’re actually playing a good game, it’s just we got to get our bounces and stick together.”

Stuck together they did, and if we want to take anything away from Saturday’s OTL, it’s that. That didn’t happen three weeks ago.

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