Brayden Schenn deal is Philly’s ‘first priority,’ says Hextall

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Ron Hextall was part of the Kings managerial group that took Brayden Schenn fifth overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, so it’s no surprise that, five years later, retaining Schenn’s services is at the top of Hextall’s to-do list.

“Schenn would be our first priority,” the Flyers GM said, per CSN Philly. “But he’s restricted, so there’s not a timeline there where you say, ‘It’s going to be done by this time.’

“Brayden’s a good young player, and we’d like to get him under contract as soon as possible. But again, there’s timelines there. It might be training camp, it might be July. I really can’t say. But obviously he’s a priority.”

Schenn, 22, appeared in all 82 games for the Flyers this year and posted career highs in goals (20) and points (41). One of the key pieces that came to Philly in the Mike Richards trade — Hextall was the assistant GM in L.A. at the time — Schenn just wrapped the last of his three-year, entry-level deal (a complex one, laden with bonuses) and will now go into what’s usually a tricky negotiation as a first-time RFA.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of deal Schenn gets. One comparable would be fellow ’09 draftee Nazem Kadri who, after scoring 44 points in 48 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, scored a two-year, $5.8 million extension with the Leafs.

Another comparable? Schenn’s teammate, Sean Couturier, who signed a two-year, $3.5 million extension that kicks in next season. In fact, the Couturier deal might be more applicable because the Flyers think there’s still plenty of maturation still to come for Schenn — much like they did with Couturier upon extending him last July.

“There’s a lot more room for growth. I think Brayden’s defensive game has gotten better,” Hextall explained. “Numbers wise, he’s gotten better, there’s room for growth there. This year, he was a little all over the place, he was on the wing, he was in the middle, he was with different players.

“I’d kind of like to try to stabilize that a little but, but we’ve got to find the right fit there, and easier said than done.”