Ron Hextall’s theory as it relates to the NHL trade market is the same as it relates to bringing up his many promising young defense prospects.

“Patience,” he said calmly Wednesday afternoon, “is a virtue.”

By early evening, the virtue arrived.

The Flyers’ general manager who desperately craved salary-cap space got it by trading defenseman Luke Schenn and embattled center Vinny Lecavalier to the Los Angeles Kings, clearing upwards of $4 million in salary cap space in the process.

“This had been going on for a while, probably a good three weeks here,” Hextall said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday night. “I lose track of time, but (Kings general manager Dean Lombardi) and I kept in regular touch. He’s always had a big interest in Luke Schenn. We talked about that way back. It’s been going on for a while.”

The Flyers are retaining half of Schenn’s $3.6 million salary this season — he is in the last year of his contract — and half of Lecavalier’s $4.5 million cap hit. Lecavalier’s agent, Kent Hughes, reportedly said that his client, who turns 36 in April, will retire at the end of the season. He will walk away from the remaining two years of his contract and there will be no salary-cap implications.

Lecavalier had been a healthy scratch for 22 consecutive games with the Flyers. Clearly they did not think he was capable of playing in the NHL despite the former scoring champion’s impressive resume in the league.

Schenn was serviceable to the Flyers this year, notching five points in 29 games and logging an average of 17:35 of ice time per game.

What Hextall got in relief is...