By Tom Dougherty, CSNPhilly.com
It’s been a busy week for Flyers general manager Ron Hextall.
On Tuesday, Hextall signed Sean Couturier to a six-year, $25.98 million contract extension.
Thursday night, the second-year GM inked Jakub Voracek to an eight-year, $66 million extension.
With Brayden Schenn set to become a restricted free agent after the 2015-16 season, is the 23-year-old next to sign?
Not so fast.
“I’m not sure there will be a push,” Hextall said Thursday in a conference call. “I’ve spoken with Brayden’s agent a number of times over the summer about different things and the subject’s never come up. It’s not something we’re in a hurry to do and I’m assuming they feel the same way.”
Schenn registered 18 goals and 29 assists last season, his fourth with the Flyers. A natural center, Schenn has been toyed around the lineup the last two seasons.
Because of the Flyers’ situation at center, Schenn has been playing both the pivot and the wing, a position he’s not accustomed to and hasn’t produced much at.
But at the end of last season, Craig Berube put the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native on right wing with Couturier and Matt Read, a spot he finally started to look comfortable in.
When Wayne Simmonds suffered a broken leg on March 25, Schenn replaced Simmonds on Couturier’s line and finished the season strong.
In a four-game stretch from April 1 to April 7, Schenn tallied four goals and seven points. He was named the NHL No. 2 Star of the Week for the week ending April 5.
The 2009 No. 5 overall pick will have a fresh start with Dave Hakstol, who previously stated he’s not going to judge Schenn on past performances.
“From my perspective, he’s played a lot of games and he’s a young player that is growing and developing,” Hakstol said at development camp earlier this month.
“I think I am going to allow that proof to be decided in his performance. I’m not making any decisions on anything that’s happened in the past. I think it’s about what you do from this point forward and that will be the case in this situation.”
The Flyers acquired Schenn on the same day — June 23, 2011 — they traded for Voracek and received the draft pick they used for Couturier from Columbus.
Schenn came to the orange and black with Simmonds as part of the Mike Richards trade with the Kings.
This past week, Hextall gave extensions to Voracek and Couturier, as he sees those two as key pieces going forward.
As for Schenn, the forward hasn’t shown enough to warrant an extension, but he’ll have another 82 games to show what he’s worth.
“[It’s] not that we wouldn’t like to get him signed, but probably [want to] get him another year to see where things flush out,” Hextall said.
“I don’t anticipate signing Brayden, which never means that you’re not going to but it’s not something we’ll actively pursue. We’ll wait and see how the year goes and probably talk at some point during the year or next summer.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: See the story on CSNPhilly.com)