If I told you two months ago that James Van Riemsdyk would be the team’s top goal scorer and point getter, most of you wouldn’t believe me. Hell, I wouldn’t believe me. But yet, that’s exactly what is going on. Van Riemsdyk looks like his old self from his days in Toronto this season and it’s put the league on notice. As of this writing, JVR’s 16 points put him third in the league in scoring, behind only Mitch Marner, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.
While some of the fanbase has embraced this new JVR with open arms, going as far as to suggest that the Flyers ahould protect him in the upcoming expansion draft, the reality of his situation still needs to stay in focus. The salary cap will remain flat for the foreseeable future and some expensive contracts are on the horizon, making it almost impossible to re-sign all the upcoming contracts without moving JVR.
Van Riemsdyk’s contract runs through the summer of 2023 with a $7 million cap hit, and in that time the Flyers have to re-sign Carter Hart, Travis Sanheim, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Joel Farabee. Not to mention a flurry of prospects and depth players, as well as a backup goalie.
We’ve floated the idea of not re-signing or even trading Sean Couturier in the past few months and it wasn’t a popular idea with the fans, but he’s in line to make a huge payday from his current $4.3 million cap hit. Carter Hart may not get a huge payday right away, but he could still see a hefty raise in the $3.5 million range coming off his entry-level deal. Farabee is a work in progress, but with another full season to hone his skills, he could earn a big contract if things click before his ELC is up in 2022. Giroux may not make as much as his current $8.275 million deal, but could end up anywhere in the $3-$5 million range if his play doesn’t diminish any further. Sanheim’s $3.25 million bridge deal he signed in 2019 may come back to bite them, as he could demand more money now because his bridge cap was so high. If the Flyers believe in him, he could potentially see a 5x$5 million extension.
If anything, JVR playing well is a great thing for the expansion draft. There will be many teams around the league that will use the the expansion draft as a way to get rid of that one bad contract they have on the books. Given the flat cap and the leverage Seattle has, they could demand a king’s ransom to take on bad contracts, and if the team won’t pay up Seattle simply won’t pick the expensive player and look for another team who will.
If JVR’s lackluster play continued through this season, the Flyers would have to add an asset or two to convince Seattle to select him, but if his hot streak can continue throughout the season, there may not have to be a high draft pick or top prospect attached to the deal.
James Van Riemsdyk playing better is great. but let’s not kid ourselves. A dozen good games over a three year span isn’t ideal. Hopefully he can keep this level of production up and help carry the team for the rest of the season, but as his 32nd birthday approaches and his deal running through 2023, it’s not the brightest outlook as far as being able to keep this up for the last two years of his deal. The Flyers only have to protect Giroux and Hayes at the expansion draft, given they have no-movement clauses, so they are in a good spot to protect everyone who they deem worthy, but JVR still needs to be the main course the Flyers feed the Kraken.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: sportingews.com bleacherreport.com