What Are the Benefits of Keeping James van Riemsdyk… Are There Any?

James van Riemsdyk is a 33-year-old forward from Middletown, New Jersey. The 6’3 left winger weighs 217 pounds (98kg), and has played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers.

During the NHL Trade Deadline this year JVR was expected to be traded and was linked to four teams, Dallas, Minnesota, Vegas and Winnipeg. As well was looked at by the Flames. It ultimately came down to the Detroit Red Wings but the trade fell threw at the eleventh hour. It didn’t come to fruition due to another completely separate trade Detroit was engaged with that also fell through. Red Wings tried to move a player, and was told that did not work/happen, leading to them backing out of JVR. Flyers fans went ballistic after this trade fell apart and were very upset with General Manager at the time Chuck Fletcher.

According to Chuck Fletcher he couldn’t get any trades to work out and he made a dozen calls, Chuck Fletcher apparently didn’t have an offer for JvR until 1:40 on March 3rd. The team (Detroit) pulled back, and Fletcher found out a few minutes before the trade deadline ended that it fell through. This was the last straw for Flyers fans and didn’t believe a word Chuck said. The return for JVR would have probably been very small, due to the fact that Chuck waited to long and the market dried up. So now that the Flyers are forced to keep James van Riemsdyk at least till the end of the season, let’s take a look at the good and bad of the situation.

James van Riemsdyk on Draft Day in 2007

James van Riemsdyk was a 1st round, 2nd overall pick. In a long career, he’s played almost 1,000 games with 297 goals, 288 assists, and 585 points. He started his career in 2009-10 with the Flyers and played for 3 years before going to the Leafs in 2012-13, then returning to the Flyers in 2018-19. His best year was in 2016-17 with a career high 62 points in 82 games. For a second overall pick he wasn’t looking that great, that comes down to maybe the Flyers development, which has been in question for awhile now from fans, after a lot of failed prospects and players who have gone on to succeed elsewhere. JVR is a strong presence in front of the net and is known for getting garage goals, and thanks to former teammate Claude Giroux he is known as a “Pigeon”.

James van Riemsdyk hasn’t scored since February 12 against Seattle, and only has 2 point since then. Like many of the Flyers’ players his point production has been very low, this is his lowest point season since 2011-12 where he only had 24 points. In that year he only had 11 goals in 43 games, and this season he has 9 goals through 45 games. It is unclear what his struggle is this season but it is noticeable in his play. He seems scared to shoot the puck from afar and he isn’t as noticeable in front of the net.

I would compare JVR’s play style to Wayne Simmonds, who is a Maple Leaf and former Flyer as well. They are both bigger players who aren’t afraid to battle in front of the net, and not extremely strong skaters. There is a few key things they are each known for and when those key parts are lacking or not producing it is very noticeable. All though both players do show a lot of passion for their game, and are always very open with fans. JVR is always one of the first players on the ice for practice and you can really tell he cares about the game.

This may mean that the Flyers will try and move JVR again at the end of the year, and I believe Danny Briere will try and get something in the works to make that possible.

“It needs to be done the right way. Keep developing and evaluating players. This is not a quick fix in mind.”

Danny Briere on the idea of a rebuild

With that being said. trading JVR isn’t just an easy fix, there is more to it and a lot more needs to happen. With van Riemsdyk there isn’t a lot more room for development and if there is it’s pretty small. Where he is at isn’t going to change very much as he closes out his career, it is just whether or not Briere wants to take that on or trade him for picks. Which if Danny is sticking with his rebuild idea than you would think he would try and move him soon. Briere knows that and I think that’s why he is taking every step with caution, wanting to see how everything works out before making a wrong move. Danny Briere is thought highly off by management and players, so no matter what role he ends up with in the organization it should be a good fit. The Flyers don’t need more veteran presence they have a lot of it between players like Laughton and Hayes, so losing James wouldn’t be a huge hit to the team. It all falls on how the offseason goes and what the Flyers do to cover that hole in the lineup. Hopefully the Flyers do have a good offseason and can create some depth and find some players to build around, like Cutter Gauthier, Samuel Ersson, and hopefully a good draft pick this year in Nashville.

So looking back, no there are no real major benefits to keeping James van Riemsdyk especially on this current Flyers roster. I think the Flyers faithful have seen enough, especially after giving him another look when he returned to Philadelphia from Toronto. When James is producing he can be deadly and a very streaky player, but when struggling like this it is hard to get out of. The market for JVR right now is extremely small, now the waiting game starts for the offseason where we see if the interest comes back again.

By: Dylan H. Robillard (@dyl2pac) 17 year old Graphic Designer & Writer Instagram: @dyl2creative

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