The Philadelphia Flyers put the spotlight on James van Riemsdyk after selecting him with the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft. Patrick Kane went number one to the Chicago Blackhawks that year, and the likes of Max Pacioretty, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh, Logan Couture, Kyle Turris and David Perron were taken in the first round as well.
The Flyers decided this summer that they needed more defensive strength and didn’t want to wait around for van Riemsdyk to deliver on a consistent basis. As you can see below, van Riemsdyk hasn’t had that breakout campaign everyone expected at this point. But, as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Brian Burke jumped at the chance to acquire van Riemsdyk in exchange for Luke Schenn, as Toronto was in need of more top six forwards and had a glut of defensemen.
2009-2010 (78 GP): 15 G, 20 A, 173 SOG
2010-2011 (75 GP): 21 G, 19 A, 173 SOG
2011-2012 (43 GP): 11 G, 13 A, 121 SOG
After van Riemsdyk posted a 21-goal season in 2010-2011, many thought that 2011-2012 would be the breakout year. We saw a breakout year from a left-winger on the Flyers, but it wasn’t van Riemsdyk. Scott Hartnell scored a career best 37 goals and 67 points while playing alongside Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr.
If that wasn’t bad enough for van Riemsdyk, he also suffered a concussion after taking a hit to the head from Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Butler.
Van Riemsdyk could be in an ideal situation with the Maple Leafs, though. Since the team has been unable to land a number one centre via trade, van Riemsdyk just might slide in between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. He’s never had that kind of an opportunity before, as Philadelphia always boasts great depth at the forward position.
For fantasy purposes, van Riemsdyk could be the perfect sleeper to hitch your wagon to. He was a hyped prospect; perhaps someone has given up on him, which means your chance to acquire him for a reasonable price could be right now. If Tyler Bozak can put up 47 points while playing with Lupul and Kessel, just imagine what van Riemsdyk could do with this opportunity. Kessel is a prolific goal scorer and Lupul seems to be reviving his career after posting a 67-point season with the Leafs.
In terms of Yahoo fantasy leagues, van Riemsdyk is the 93rd left wing eligible player going off the board. He’s only 26 percent owned, and he will gain centre eligibility if the Leafs go through with their plan. For more information on the Leafs plans with JVR, have a look at this article by Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star.
ESPN’s rankings have van Riemsdyk as the 58th overall skater, so there isn’t as much value there. They already have him as duel eligible though, which raises his fantasy value. More interesting are ESPN’s projections for van Riemsdyk over a full season: 28 G, 32 A, 60 PTS, 56 PIM, 286 SOG, 26 PPP.
The Flyers played van Riemsdyk with offensive linemates in the playoffs, as you can see below. Many think that Van Riemdsyk will really hit his stride with the Maple Leafs and I look forward to seeing him in action much more often.
|EV||48 BRIERE,DANIEL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES - 93 VORACEK,JAKUB|
|EV||48 BRIERE,DANIEL - 17 SIMMONDS,WAYNE - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES|
|EV||28 GIROUX,CLAUDE - 17 SIMMONDS,WAYNE - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES|
|EV||24 READ,MATT - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES - 93 VORACEK,JAKUB|
|EV||17 SIMMONDS,WAYNE - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES - 47 WELLWOOD,ERIC|
|EV||14 COUTURIER,SEAN - 27 TALBOT,MAXIME - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES|
|EV||24 READ,MATT - 17 SIMMONDS,WAYNE - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES|
Mac can be found on the forums as dmvincent, and you can also follow him on twitter @MacVincent1.