Laviolette excited to return to Team USA, Flyers

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Laviolette excited to return to Team USA, Flyers

The best thing that could have happened for Peter Laviolette was a little distraction from the boredom of a four-month long offseason.
 
Perhaps something like a Team USA orientation camp just prior to the start of Flyers rookie camp, which opens today at Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.
 
“The Olympic team is added work, but certainly welcomed by me,” Laviolette said. “I’m excited about it and the opportunity to go there and represent the United States. I think that is a great opportunity to do something good for our country and the sport of hockey. I’m really excited about that.”
 
That camp got Laviolette’s juices flowing again. Got him in the right frame of mind for this brief camp that leads directly into the Flyers’ full training camp next week (Sept. 12).
 
He'll go from Team USA to the Flyers without missing a beat.
 
“I did this before in 2006 from a head coaching role, and I understand the balance that needs to take place and didn’t seem to really affect anything we did with Carolina that year,” Laviolette said. “It starts to get you back into that [hockey mode]. There was stuff done before that with the Flyers, but I do think it puts you back into the rink with meetings and players there and we had to run systems meetings. It jump-starts you and gets you going for the season.”
 
It’s not very often the Flyers don’t make the playoffs. For Laviolette, summer began in early May and he couldn’t wait for it to end.
 
“It’s tough when you don’t get to do what you wanted and have to watch the playoffs,” he said.
 
“It doesn’t have the same meaning on the outside as when you are inside and competing. I think I found late spring and early summer to be hard to handle. It wasn’t the plan, the goal or where we wanted to be.
 
“After you get by that, for me, it was exciting knowing guys are coming back healthy from where we were last year. The man games we lost, it’s exciting guys are coming back full health for the most part.”
 
There are 25 rookies in this camp and one amateur tryout (defenseman Mark Nemec from Maine).
 
Assuming a full healthy Flyers roster -- including Claude Giroux -- there really aren’t any obvious holes to be filled where a rookie prospect could be plugged into the mix, but there will be at least one forward spot filled by some lucky player -- maybe Scott Laughton.
 
The question is, can Laughton stick around this time? Last year, he made it through five games before going back to Oshawa.
 
Laughton, Nick Cousins and Petr Straka are all hoping to do something now to get onto the Flyers' roster.
 
Who has the best shot?
 
“I would say Scott,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “We’ve got to give him an opportunity to see what he does. Give him some games, just based on what he did last year. The rest is up to the players and how they look.
 
“Some really stand out in the practices. We’ve got the rookie game with the Capitals, and we’ll continue to take looks at them.”
 
If Laughton and Tye McGinn, who is not in this camp, are both on the roster, that’s 14 forwards right there on the 23-man roster.
 
Defensively, Mark Alt might be the only blueliner capable of making things tough for someone but again, the coaching staff is hoping the blue line gets pushed. Alt could do that.
 
In Laviolette’s mind, some prospect just might surprise.
 
“For me to tell you there is no room on our team for them, I won’t do it,” Laviolette said. “I’m not gonna say that at all. Wouldn’t it be great if Player X came in and made it hard for us to do anything else?
 
“I know that would be a great thing. I don’t think that is the case -- there is no room. If someone can find themselves a spot, that is what training camp and exhibition games are all about.”
 
Defense is already overstocked -- a rarity for the Flyers -- with seven likely set to the roster: Kimmo Timonen, Mark Streit, Erik Gustafsson, Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn, Nick Grossmann and Andrej Meszaros.
 
What happens to Bruno Gervais and Oliver Lauridsen? That’s the current log jam that makes Alt’s job in this rookie camp that much harder.
 
“It will play out,” Holmgren said. “It’s not a bad thing to have that many players and that much depth. As we saw last year, we ran into some issues through injuries. You never know.”

Flyers, Brayden Schenn agree to 4-year contract

Flyers, Brayden Schenn agree to 4-year contract

In the end, the Flyers blinked and avoided arbitration Monday morning by overpaying Brayden Schenn with a four-year, $20.5 million contract.
 
The contract leaves the club in a precarious salary cap situation, as the Flyers have just $1.38 million in space now, according to generalfanager.com.
 
The 11th-hour settlement saw the Flyers and Schenn’s agent, Don Meehan, avoid arbitration, which was set for 9 a.m. in Toronto.
 
Meehan was seeking a deal worth $5.5 million for Schenn, who was a restricted free agent.
 
The one Schenn signed will average $5.125 million, according to a source, which still seems excessively high for the 24-year-old, who has had just one excellent season in five full years in the NHL, excluding two partial seasons with the Los Angeles Kings.
 
Schenn had his most productive year last season with career-highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59), while showing he could play wing on Claude Giroux’s line with Wayne Simmonds.
 
The Flyers and Schenn were more than $1 million apart going into Monday morning with no progress having been made over this past weekend.
 
Why general manager Ron Hextall didn’t risk the arbitration process remains unanswered. The contracts of some players in comparable situations favored a settlement less than what the Flyers agreed to.
 
The Flyers had offered Schenn a two-year deal that would have paid him $4.25 million this coming season and $4.369 million in 2017-18. That’s an average of $4.3 million.
 
New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, a 25-year-old right wing, signed a five-year deal earlier this month worth $23.25 million. His AAV is $4.65 million. That’s the figure the Flyers could have gambled on getting from an arbitrator.
 
They may have been scared away from going through with the arbitration because of the five-year, $26.5 million deal fellow RFA Jaden Schwartz signed with St. Louis earlier that carried a $5.35 million hit.
 
Hextall was not immediately available for comment.
 
TSN’s Bob McKenzie first reported the financials of the contract.

Flyers and Brayden Schenn to go to arbitration

Flyers and Brayden Schenn to go to arbitration

Barring an 11th-hour settlement, the Flyers will go to arbitration on Monday against swing forward Brayden Schenn.
 
The hearing is slated for 9 a.m.
 
The two sides are more than $1 million apart with no progress having been made over this past weekend.
 
“We will probably go to arbitration,” Don Meehan, the agent for Schenn, said Sunday.
 
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall seemed to concur.
 
“I’m not overly optimistic,” he said about avoiding arbitration.
 
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto filed last summer but signed without going to a hearing.
 
The 24-year-old Schenn is the highest-profile Flyer to get this far without signing since John LeClair back in 2000. He received $7 million — the highest one-year award ever.
 
By filing on July 5, Meehan assured his client will get a contract. The Flyers’ qualified Schenn, who earned $2.75 million last season, on June 30.
 
He is a restricted free agent, who could earn close to $5 million a season on his next deal. And that’s the sticky part.
 
Sources said the Flyers offered a two-year deal that would pay Schenn $4.25 million this coming season and $4.369 million in 2017-18 (see story). That’s an AAV of $4.30 million.
 
Meehan wants $5.50 million, which is excessively high given Schenn’s seven-year career thus far.
 
At the same time, if you look at the some of the RFA signings this summer, as Meehan surely has, the comparable numbers would suggest Schenn is worth slightly more than what the Flyers have offered.
 
Two examples here: New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, a 25-year-old right wing, signed a five-year deal earlier this month worth $23.25 million. His AAV is $4.65 million. That’s the correct ballpark for Schenn.
 
Schenn had his most productive year last season with career-highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59) while proving he can play the wing on Claude Giroux’s line with Wayne Simmonds on the right side.
 
Palmieri had career-highs as well in goals (30), assists (27) and points (57).
 
Problem is, the other end of the spectrum, where Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues sits.
 
The 24-year-old center recently signed a five-year, $26.5 million deal as an RFA with an AAV of $5.35 million. That’s far higher than Hextall wants to go with Schenn at this point.
 
A fractured ankle and subsequent surgery ruined Schwartz’ past season (33 games played), but Blues’ general manager Doug Armstrong looked at what Schwartz accomplished two years ago — career-highs with 28 goals, 35 assists and 63 points – and used that as a barometer for the future.
 
That deal hurts the Flyers here with Schenn.
 
Hextall’s offer suggests the Flyers want Schenn to prove he’s a $5 million player, which means show the Flyers 30 goals and 70 points this season.
 
Schenn finished second in goals to Simmonds (32) and third in points behind Giroux (67) and Simmonds (60) last season.
 
The arbitrator should be able to locate a fair medium. Expect Meehan to ask for a one-year award only.

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have signed former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old defenseman had four goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were traded by the Flyers to the Kings last January in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in last month's entry draft.

In his career, Schenn has 28 goals and 100 assists in 566 games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In three-plus seasons with the Flyers, Schenn scored 12 goals and added 30 assists.

Schenn was the first-round draft pick - fifth selection overall - by the Maple Leafs in 2008.

Coyotes general manager John Chayka called Schenn "a good, young defenseman" who will be "a solid addition" to the Arizona blue line.

- CSNPhilly.com contributed to this story.