Holmgren: Flyers-Kings trade 'good for both'

ST. PAUL, Minn. - When Paul Holmgren was general manager, he made many strong deals, transforming the Flyers from the worst team in hockey in 2006-07 to a conference finalist the following season.

But two moves he made later in his tenure - acquiring stay-at-home defenseman Luke Schenn for blossoming left winger James van Riemsdyk, and signing free-agent Vinny Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million contract - did not work out as planned.

Fact is, they set the team back on a number of levels. On Wednesday, the Flyers cut their losses.

General manager Ron Hextall dealt Schenn and the seldom-used Lecavalier to Los Angeles for rookie center Jordan Weal and a third-round pick. The deal gives the Flyers much more salary-cap room and maneuverability to recall players from the Phantoms.

"It's a good trade for both teams," Holmgren, now the club president, said Thursday after watching the Flyers' morning skate. "I think they're getting a couple players that will help them, and we're getting a young player in Jordan Weal that Ron has a good knowledge of, and a draft pick, and a little bit of cap flexibility."

Holmgren said he had no second thoughts about signing Lecavalier in 2013 or acquiring Schenn in 2012. Deals that don't work out and cause cap problems, he said, "are all part of the business."

Holmgren called Schenn a good player but conceded that he didn't live up to the expectations created when he was selected fifth overall by Toronto in 2008. "But he's a very good defenseman in our league, and I think he's going to a team that needs a guy like that and I think he'll excel there," he said.

Flyers winger Brayden Schenn said, "It's not easy seeing your brother get traded, but at the same time you realize it's a business and things happen."

The fact that Luke Schenn was going to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, Brayden said, made a trade almost inevitable.

"If you look at the D-men we have in the system . . . you weren't sure if he was going to sign back here and you kind of knew he was going to be traded before the deadline," he said.

Lecavalier, 35, once one of the NHL's elite players, had been a healthy scratch since Nov. 12. He continued to work hard in practices and didn't sulk.

"My respect for him has gone up tenfold, based on what he went through and how he handled it," Holmgren said.

"Everybody in this room can take a piece of that and use him as a prime example" of how to act, defenseman Mark Streit said. "He was always in a good mood."

Winger Jake Voracek called Lecavalier "one of the classiest guys I ever played with. It's been an honor to be in the same locker room as him. He's a future Hall of Famer . . . and I'm very happy for him that he's going to get a chance to play and finish his career on a high note."

Schenn's departure leaves the Flyers with seven defensemen, a much more manageable number for those involved.

"It's tough when you always have two guys sitting out and have guys go in and out" of the lineup, Streit said. "Having two too many is tough, but at the same time, it's tough losing two quality guys who have been here a while."

Breakaways

Weal, a center, arrived in Minnesota after the morning skate and did not play Thursday. Coach Dave Hakstol did not rule out moving him to wing. . . . Evgeny Medvedev returned to the lineup, replacing Schenn on a pairing with Shayne Gostisbehere. . . . The Phantoms' Nick Cousins and Anthony Stolarz were among the players named AHL all-stars along with Toronto's T.J. Brennan (Moorestown).