Flyers B. Schenn on the trading block and why that's a bad idea

Flyers B. Schenn on the trading block and why that's a bad idea

While the Flyers were busy taking down the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday for their fourth win in five games, TSN analyst Darren Dreger was busy stirring the rumor pot.

According to the report, the Flyers are (very) quietly shopping forward Brayden Schenn. But to get done, the deal needs to be the “right” one for general manager Paul Holmgren.

Though this report is paper thin because of its vagaries, and granted it’s impossible to judge a deal of this magnitude without knowing the return, Holmgren should take a step back.

The Flyers could benefit by staying patient with Schenn.

When he was drafted fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in 2009, he was a potential franchise player. When he was traded to the Flyers for Mike Richards, he was Richards 2.0. He’s even flirted with the notion of being a bust.

But Schenn really isn’t any of those things. At least not yet.

If you strip away the labels, the lofty expectations and the Flyers’ ultra-reliance on his production, he’s simply a young, talented forward and he’s progressing very nicely.

Coming off a two-goal effort in a win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week, 22-year-old Schenn took the Flyers’ team scoring lead. He added an assist on Tuesday against the Senators to bring his season total to 13 points in 20 games.

With six points in his last five games, Schenn is on pace for 25 goals and 29 assists -- good for 54 points over an 82-game span.

And while that might not seem an earth-shattering number to some, a productive 2013-14 is crucial for Schenn to reach his vast upside. Trading him would be to waste his development to this point.

Alongside Wayne Simmonds and Vinny Lecavalier, Schenn has helped the Flyers’ hottest line score seven goals and seven assists in their last five games. He is averaging 15:59 time on ice per night, with 3:02 of that coming on the power play. He is tied for fifth on the team in shots with 38.

With his role set and just the right amount of puck luck on a productive line, Schenn could be a 50-to-60 point player this season -- right in line with where he should be at this stage in his career.

In other words, he is on the cusp of breaking out.

At 20-years old, Schenn earned 18 points in 54 games -- an 82-game pace of 27 points. In last year’s shortened lockout season he earned 26 points -- a full-season scoring pace that would have left Schenn with 45 points over 82 games. And he is on track to exceed those numbers this season.

Schenn’s development is taking a familiar road and it puts his improvement in context.

At 21, his rookie season, former Flyers captain Richards earned 34 points. In his sophomore season, 22-year-old Richards was on pace for 45 points with 14 goals and 31 assists -- the exact same 82-game projection as Schenn’s sophomore campaign. Richards’ big season didn’t come until 2007-08, when he was 23, earning a whopping 75 points.

Both Jeff Carter and James van Riemsdyk are other examples of this same slow-and-steady road to production, as both players gradually improved from 20-22 until they hit their full offensive stride after their 23rd birthday.

At 22, Schenn isn’t Jamie Benn, Bobby Ryan or Logan Couture. But if he continues to improve and produce, he won't be far behind. For the Flyers, that possibility alone should be worth the patience.

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz's Rookie of the Year odds took a hit, the Eagles' Super Bowl odds shortened and the Vikings' lengthened after Sunday's 21-10 win.

The Eagles are 33/1 to win it all, a week after being listed by Bovada at 50/1. The Vikings, meanwhile, went from 7/1 to 9/1. They still have the third-shortest Super Bowl odds in the NFL and are two spots ahead of the Cowboys (14/1). 

Wentz, who had his worst statistical game against Minnesota, is now 9/1 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to Bovada. Last Wednesday, he was 6/1.

Wentz trails Cowboys studs Ezekiel Elliott (2/5) and Dak Prescott (11/5) on that leaderboard.

As far as this week, Wentz is favored to throw for more yards than Prescott. Wentz is 5/7 to outgain Prescott through the air in Week 8, while Prescott is 1/1 to outgain Wentz.

Elliott's over/under rushing total against the Eagles is 99.5. He's rushed for 130-plus yards in each of his last four games, and the odds are 3/1 that he'll reach that number again this week. 

The Eagles have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season, Washington's Matt Jones (16 for 135).

Elliott is also now on pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record. Dickerson had 1,808 in 1983; Elliott is on pace for 1,875. Will Elliott break that 33-year-old mark? A "yes" bet pays 2/1; a "no" bet pays 1/3.

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Many, though not all hockey games, have a tipping point or pivotal moment that factors into the outcome.
Sometimes it’s obvious what it was and when the moment occurred. Other times, it’s overshadowed by something else on the ice.
Ask the Flyers which moment would define their come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo on Tuesday and the response will be virtually unanimous: when Dmitry Kulikov leveled Jakub Voracek with a high hit that made contact to the head in the third period.
Voracek was forced off the ice under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
That hit incensed the Flyers, who went on to score two power-play goals and tie the game, 3-3. The comeback was on.
Yet there was a less obvious but significant point that happened late in the second period, and it concerned goalie Steve Mason.
Matt Moulson had given Buffalo a 3-0 lead on Michal Neuvirth at 15:43, when Flyers coach Dave Hakstol elected to make a goalie switch.
Rather than call a simple timeout to buy Mason some warm-up time and allow his team to collect itself on the bench, Hakstol challenged the goal, claiming “goalie interference.”
Replays won’t show any direct interference on the shot itself. Neuvirth was speared several seconds before the play developed.
Hakstol knew the goal would likely not be overturned, but his strategy was to buy time for Mason and his team. By using a challenge, he knew the review process would take a lot longer than the 60-second timeout.
Either way, he was going to use his only timeout.
“You know what, I think we needed a timeout at that time, anyway,” Hakstol said coyly. “Pretty low probability of it being successful. Everything worked out well in the end.”
Mason appreciated what his coach did, too. Buying extra time for you?
“Yeah, probably,” Mason replied. “Regardless of the situation, you’re sitting on the bench, you know? You’re not really gauged as much as when you’re playing, obviously. So, you just try and ramp things up as quickly as possible.”
Mason had two saves in that shortened period, five in the third period and one in the overtime to register his second victory.
“There’s a never-quit attitude in this room,” he said. “We showed in Chicago — we were just talking about that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to close that one out.
“But guys have a belief that you get one [moment] and it comes. [Travis Konecny] got us going with his first NHL goal, which is great. The guys really pushed to capitalize on their chances.” ​