Flyers trade Lecavalier, Luke Schenn to Kings

The Flyers traded two classy players - defenseman Luke Schenn and forward Vinny Lecavalier - who became known for negative reasons: They were part of two of the worst deals/signings in recent franchise history.

In a cost-cutting trade Wednesday, both were dealt to Los Angeles for center Jordan Weal, 23, a decent prospect who starred in the AHL last year but had no points in 10 games with the Kings this season, and a third-round pick in this June's draft.

The Flyers shed lots of salary and are now $4.1 million under the cap, according to generalfanager.com.

The Flyers will retain half of the Schenn and Lecavalier salaries. They will assume $2.25 million of Lecavalier's $4.5 million cap hit, and $1.8 million of Schenn's $3.6 million cap hit.

Lecavalier has two-plus years left on his deal, but he reportedly will retire when this season ends. Schenn is an unrestricted free agent after this season.

"This unmuddles the waters," general manager Ron Hextall said, referring to the fact the Flyers were carrying eight defensemen and were close to the cap maximum.

The deal also gives the Flyers flexibility in calling up players from the Phantoms.

Schenn was acquired in 2012 from Toronto for James van Riemsdyk, who has become a highly productive left winger who would probably be on the Flyers' top line if he were still here.

Schenn, 26, selected fifth overall by Toronto in the 2008 draft, never lived up to expectations and has been an occasional healthy scratch. Though he did supply physicality, his lack of speed was costly. He had five points and a minus-7 rating in 29 games this season, his fourth with the Flyers.

Lecavalier, 35, has been a healthy scratch since Nov. 12. He played in just seven games this season, managing one assist.

After a productive 14-year career and a Stanley Cup championship with Tampa Bay, Lecavalier was bought out by the Lightning in 2013 and he signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Flyers.

Lecavalier scored 20 goals in his first season with the Flyers but has since struggled to score or get ice time. He signed with the Flyers because he wanted to play in Peter Laviolette attacking-style system. But Laviolette was fired early in Lecavalier's first season with the Flyers, and the center/winger never fit into then-coach Craig Berube's system.

Or new coach Dave Hakstol's, for that matter.

Lecavalier, the No. 1 overall pick in 1998, has 411 goals and 932 points in a stellar career, but he will probably fall short of reaching the Hall of Fame.

Weal, who has a $632,500 cap hit, had 69 points in the AHL last year. He was used sparingly with the Kings this season.

"This is an opportunity for me to get a fresh start, and get a couple games in a row and get some momentum" said Weal, a Vancouver native who was drafted in the third round (70th overall) by the Kings in 2010.

Weal, who will wear No. 19, said he was looking at it as a chance to "prove my stock."

"Jordan is at a point where he is a top AHL player trying to prove himself in the NHL," Hextall said.

Hextall said Schenn and Lecavalier were excited to go to the Kings, who are considered Stanley Cup contenders.

The deal took three weeks to consummate, said Hextall, who used to be a Kings assistant GM under general manager Dean Lombardi.

Oddly, the Flyers acquired Brayden Schenn from Los Angeles, and now are sending his brother to the Kings.

Brayden Schenn said that it was a "dream come true" to be teammates with his brother and that hopefully they will be teammates again in the future. He said the Kings fit Luke's style - "big bodies that play pretty physical."

Earlier in the day, before completing the trade, Hextall talked about salary-cap issues causing him to make some recent unwanted moves (see forward Sam Gagner's demotion to the Phantoms) - and how he didn't like having so many defensemen on the roster.

"We don't like having eight defensemen. Players don't like it. We don't like it. That's reality," Hextall said. "At some point here, something will break, but until then we'll continue on."

A few hours later, the trade was finished. The Flyers had some cap freedom, but they paid Lecavalier a lot of money for little production, and they have very little to show for trading van Riemsdyk , who is on pace for another 30-goal season.

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull www.philly.com/flyersblog