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Leafs acquire Van Reimsdyk; Ship out Schenn & Gustavsson

Two players who were promised to be future stars by Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke were sent packing from the lowly NHL club on June 23. Defenseman Luke Schenn was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in return for James Van Riemsdyk and the negotiating rights to goalkeeper Jonas Gustavsson were shipped off to the Winnipeg Jets in return for a seventh-round pick in next year’s entry draft.

Van Riemsdyk scored 11 goals and added 13 assists for 24 points in just 43 games for Philadelphia last season, which was shortened due to a broken foot. Burke has been after the left-winger for quite some time since he feels Van Riemsdyk’s 6-foot-3 inch, 200 lb. frame is something the Leafs’ forward corp. badly needs. Burke is hoping his new acquisition can add some size, physicality, speed, and finesse next season.

Van Riemsdyk became a wanted man by many teams during the 2010/11 playoff season when he led Philadelphia in scoring with seven goals in 11 contests, while compiling an average of 6 shots per game. He also scored 21 goals and 19 assists for 40 points in 75 games that season and had a plus/minus rating of plus 15. The goals and point totals were career highs for the 23-year old winger to date.

Van Riemsdyk said it’s exciting to be traded to a hockey hotbed like Toronto because of the tradition, fans, and the city itself. He indicated via conference call that he grew up as a big New York Yankees fan and playing hockey in Toronto is like playing for the Yankees in baseball. The New Jersey native was selected in the 2007 draft by the Flyers with the second overall pick behind only Patrick Kane. He leaves the team after playing 196 regular season games in which he scored 99 points on 47 goals and 52 assists.

The 22-year-old Schenn will be joining his brother Brayden with the Flyers, but said even though the trade has been rumoured for months, that he was still shocked to get the news. Schenn told reporters yesterday that the Flyers have a lot of good young players and he’s excited about joining his brother.

Schenn was chosen by the Leafs in the 2008 draft with the fifth overall pick. Cliff Fletcher had the seventh pick that year, but traded it to the New York Islanders to move up and snag the hard hitting defenseman. Schenn played 79 games with Toronto last season and scored two goals and 20 assists. In 310 career games he has 14 goals and 61 assists for 75 points.

Van Riemsdyk will cost the Leafs $4.25 million in salary cap space for the next six years while Schenn has four years left on his contract at $3.6 million a season. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he and Burke discussed the deal earlier this season and they spoke about it again at the draft on June 22 where they shortly-after decided to pull the trigger on it. Both GMs note that this trade a good deal for both teams as it fills both the Flyers' and Leafs' needs.

Jonas Gustavsson was sent to Winnipeg after signing with Toronto in 2009. When he was signed, he was billed by Buke as the best goalie in the world that wasn’t in the NHL. The 27-year-old native of Sweden played well in spurts in Toronto, but was never consistent enough to steal the starting job. He’s scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st, but Winnipeg chose to deal for him as a backup goalie and get a head start on contract negotiations.

Toronto will only receive the seventh-round draft pick if the Jets can ink him to a new deal. Gustavsson had a 38-45-15 record with Toronto in 107 games while compiling an average 2.98 goals-against-average and a .900 save percentage with 5 shutouts. He posted an even 17-17-4 record last season.

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