UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- On the heels of our Frequent Flyers post on Wednesday about the Flyers possibly pursuing a trade with the Maple Leafs, the rumors appear to be gaining momentum.
Two organizational sources confirmed what TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on their ‘Insider Trading’ show on Thursday night, that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and Leafs general manager Brian Burke have indeed spoken about a potential trade.
At this point, sources say no formal offer has been made for any player.
Dreger subsequently reported that Luke Schenn, the brother of Flyers forward Brayden Schenn, has not been offered to any team in a trade. That does not, however, mean that Schenn is off the market.
As of last night, however, it appeared that no deal was imminent.
Interestingly, Burke joined The Fan 590 AM in Toronto on Wednesday and confirmed that he does have a possible trade boiling on the burner. Burke also said he would not be against “trading a 22-year-old of one position for a 22-year-old of another position.”
It just so happens that James van Riemsdyk, who signed a 6-year, $25.5 million contract extension last summer, and Schenn are same age (22) as the number mentioned by Burke. Whether that was pure coincidence or a top-of-mind comment is anyone's guess.
Van Riemsdyk has battled through various injuries but, all considered, has largely put up disappointing numbers with 11 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. Van Riemsdyk is on-pace to eclipse last season’s point total by just 4.
Schenn was asked about any potential trade on Thursday in Toronto.
“In the three and a half years that I’ve been here, there has been a few rumors about trades that were going to happen,” Schenn told reporters in Toronto. “They come up every year somehow. It doesn’t really mean much. They’re just rumors and I’m happy being here in Toronto.”
We reported on Wednesday that Flyers director of player development Don Luce was spotted at the Air Canada Centre for the third time in as many weeks. Luce also spent a solid chunk of time in Toronto before the Flyers acquired Kris Versteeg last Valentine’s Day.
Right now, it appears that the Flyers - who will likely make some sort of trade for defensive depth before the Feb. 27 trade deadline - appear to have their sights set on Nashville’s Ryan Suter, who is in the final year of his deal. The Flyers will get an up-close look at Suter this weekend in Tennesee.
Carolina’s Tim Gleason, as we reported last month, is also a name on the Flyers’ list. Gleason, also a pending UFA, will likely be a hot commodity at the deadline at a much cheaper price than bother Suter and Schenn.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: There were a total of 12 rookies selected by the NHL’s hockey operations department last Thursday to send to Ottawa for the Rookie Skills competition. Sean Couturier, 19, is 11th in points among rookies. There are 19 rookies with more assists than him. His offensive numbers are not flashy.
Yet, Couturier was still selected to head to Ottawa, a tip of the cap to the completeness of Couturier’s suave game. Just one rookie, Ottawa’s own Jared Cowen, has played more minutes shorthanded than Couturier. He is third in plus/minus rating and fourth in faceoff win percentage.
Matt Read, 25, will join Couturier in Ottawa for the skills competition, where they will be participating in the same drills as the bonafide All-Stars on international television. Read is tied for the league lead in goals among rookies.
“I think it’s great,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “You get to go to an event with the best players in the league. It’s well deserved. We’ve used these guys in [big] roles all year and we count on them and trust them. Not only do we recognize their talent, but it looks like other people do, as well.”
Both Couturier and Read have come a long way in the last calendar year. With Drummondville in the QMJHL, he was just finally getting adjusted to the season after a slow start because of mononucleosis. Read was in his senior season at Minnesota’s Bemidji State.
Couturier said on Thursday that he still sometimes doesn’t believe he’s in the NHL. Read said he would have told his friends to “get real” if they would have predicted this.
“Actually, I got a text from Claude Giroux after practice with ‘congratulations,’” Read said. “I said, ‘for what, what are you talking about?’ I’m still shocked I’m going."
SUSPENSION COMING? Islanders defenseman Steve Staios might not want to answer his phone on Friday. He may be getting a call from NHL director of player safety, Brendan Shanahan, for his dirty hit on Max Talbot.
Video of the hit is below.
With 4:31 to play, Talbot was blindsided by Staios when he turned around after receiving the puck along the boards.
Talbot, 27, was slow to get up and needed assistance getting to the bench. Video replay shows that Staios’ first connection with Talbot was to the head. Talbot did finish the game but said afterward that he had no inkling the hit was coming. He did not seem like himself post-game.
“I had zero idea, none at all,” Talbot said. “That’s what we’re trying to stop in the NHL, shots like that head shot. I had no time to react. I felt like the point of contact was my head. I didn’t the replay or anything, but from what I felt, it was a pretty dangerous hit. But we’ll see what they say.”
There was no penalty called on the play by either official, referees Francois St. Laurent or Steve Kozari, which riled up the Flyers’ bench.
“When I saw it live, I didn’t like it,” Laviolette said. “At the time, the observation [from the referees] was that it was a full-body contact.”
SOUTHERN COMFORT: Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen were traded to the Flyers in June, 2007. They played a combined 1,009 games in a Predators sweater. Yet, in a scheduling quirk, the Flyers have been back there once in the last 5 seasons. Saturday (8 o’clock start) will be their second matchup.
Last time, on March 16, 2009, a Predators fan greeted Hartnell outside the arena with a life-size cardboard cutout, which Hartnell proudly autographed and posed for a picture... with himself, himself and the fan.
The Flyers have never lost in regulation in Nashville (2-0-2-2) in the franchise’s 14-year history there.
STAT WATCH: Speaking of Timonen, here’s a random stat: Timonen has a better points-per-game rate (0.512) over his career than forward James van Riemsdyk (0.510).
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers