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As Darren Dreger tweeted:

“Breaking News!!!! Toronto trades Luke Schenn to Flyers for James Van Riemsdyk. Done deal.”

In a deal that made a lot of sense for both sides – and perhaps a needed change of scenery for both former top 5 picks – the Leafs trade defenseman Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers for big skilled winger James van Riemsdyk. The whole drafting process was leading up to this point, as the Leafs stockpiled on defensemen that made this trade all the more probable.

A deal which was in the making for quite some time, and maybe would have gotten done sooner if not for JVR’s earlier concussion problems, finally materialized. Burke pointed out that this team needed to get bigger up front and that’s exactly what this move is all about. While JVR won’t take people’s heads off with hits, he offers that big body in addition to his goal scoring ability that will hopefully give the top six a new dynamic.

We need to thank Luke Schenn for the years he spent with the organization and wish him all the best with the Flyers. They get a player who can still become one of the better shutdown defenseman in the league.

On the other hand, Leafs get a player who not only brings size and good possession skills but is also a fit price wise. Van Riemsdyk is also a good skater with plenty of speed who loves to drive the net. He is listed as being 6 ft 3 in tall and with a weight of 211 lb and is 23 years old.

This accurate passer boasts an excellent shot but has to work on polishing his defensive side of the puck. He still has to develop certain aspects of his game, but as he matures there’s no reason to think this kid can’t evolve into one of the best power forwards in the NHL. Here is a highlight video.

This had to be a tough deal to make for Burke, who really likes Schenn as a person and as a player despite a slower than expected last few seasons development wise. The Leafs lost a good young man with a ton of character, of that there is little doubt. Dealing from a position to strength to bolster a position of weakness is a business decision. The Leafs took a piece of their surplus of defensive depth, present and future, and flipped it into the skilled forward with size we’ve been talking about needing in our top six for some time now. Let’s hope that, despite some stumbles in his own development early in his career, JVR becomes the player he can be in Toronto.