When Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren was discussing the returns he got from Thursday's blockbuster trades of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, he called Brayden Schenn "probably the best young player outside the NHL."
Holmgren isn't the only hockey figure to feel that way about Schenn, and it's a big reason Philadelphia wanted him in the deal that sent Richards, Philadelphia's captain, to the Los Angeles Kings.
"Brayden Schenn is little bit of a diamond in the rough here," Holmgren said. "Do we take a step back with him? I don't know. He's a tremendous young player and I look forward to seeing him over the next number of years in our organization."
The Flyers also received forward Wayne Simmonds and a 2012 second-round pick in the deal, but Schenn is the player with the most upside. He was a much-coveted prospect going back to last season's trade deadline, but Kings GM Dean Lombardi was only willing to part with him for a player of Richards' caliber. And while Richards was shocked to find himself moving to the West Coast, Schenn said he was just as surprised to be heading to the East.
"It's certainly unexpected," Schenn said. "But I'm real excited to be part of this organization. Going forward I'm looking forward to being part of the organization and trying to contribute and help this team win."
Schenn, taken by the Kings with the fifth pick of the 2009 Entry Draft, has some NHL experience -- he played eight games last season, picking up 2 assists -- but spent the majority of his time in the big leagues as a healthy scratch, training off the ice and developing physically. He was a point-per-game player during a seven-game stint with the Manchester of the American Hockey League, and then was returned to junior hockey.
The 2011 World Junior Championship was a singular moment for Schenn, who had 18 points in seven games, won the tournament MVP award and led Canada to a silver medal. He also dominated junior hockey after the WJC, scoring 57 points in 29 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades.
Is Schenn, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, ready to become a full-time NHL player? The trades of Carter and Richards leave Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Blair Betts as the only centers under contract for the 2011-12 season.
"I feel that I got good experience last year," Schenn said. "I played eight games and was up there for around 25. I think the World Juniors, playing in the (2010) Memorial Cup prepared me. I'll be ready to compete for a spot in camp next year."
If Schenn does make the team, one benefit would be four games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, Luke.
"I have to get there first and make it and prove myself," Brayden Schenn said. "I've only played against him once. I think Philly and Tor have a couple exhibitions usually... It'll be kind of cool."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK