28-Year-Old Left Wing – Toronto Maple Leafs
James van Riemsdyk Contract Information:
Signed a six-year extension with the Flyers in August of 2011.
Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring for his squad, but it wasn't enough Wednesday in a 6-3 loss to New Jersey, as he finished with a minus-2 rating.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
JVR is a 30-goal, 60-point power winger with silky-smooth paws – his go-to shot is that sick between-the-legs number that makes goalies wince and defensemen look stupid. He was derailed last season by a non-displaced fracture in his left foot and was limited to 29 points (14 goals) in 40 games. But we liked what we saw from him under coach Mike Babcock. Babs cut back on JVR's ice time and bingo – the winger's possession numbers went up significantly. This season, Van Riemsdyk is healthy and ready to roar as the Leafs' top-line left winger. He'll skate beside Nazem Kadri and should have no problems getting back to the 60-point level. But he could be a 70-point winger if he finds any chemistry at all with uber-prospect Auston Matthews. Now that would be a match made in fantasy heaven.
Maybe Phil Kessel’s departure is the best thing that could have happened to JVR. Seriously – hear us out. Kessel was an all-out, one-shot kind of guy – he never really embraced the cycle, and that’s the kind of game in which JVR excels. He and new top center Nazem Kadri could become a productive duo along the wall, where their tenacity and cockiness could really wear out opponents. Kadri has something to prove, and if the two of them click, they could conceivably combine for 60 goals. A return to the 60-point level would make JVR a valuable fantasy commodity, particularly in formats that separate the centers from the wingers.
How many between-the-legs goals can JVR score this season? That patented move is going to get him decimated one day, but for now, opposing defenders have been neither big enough nor fast enough to teach him that lesson. Last season, Van Riemsdyk delivered career-best numbers in goals (30) and points (61), and that trend should continue in 2014-15. He might even deliver you 35 goals and reach the high-60s in points, including solid production on the top power-play unit. Draft him if you can.
So … which JvR will show up this season? He was absolutely dominant when he took his coach's advice and crashed the crease. But he was often invisible when he didn't. His 18 goals and 32 points last season would have delivered him his first, 30-goal, 55-point season over 82 games, and that would have made him a force in most formats. Expect a few brain farts along the way this season, particularly late in the first half when he thinks he can go back to being the old JvR. He'll figure it out in the second half, but could suffer from a post-Olympic malaise, too. So, is a 60-point season possible this time out? Yes, but only if he heeds the sage advice of his wise ol' coach.
Is this JVR's big year? Brian Burke and the rest of the Leafs sure hope so after trading away Luke Schenn. Big boys always seem to take longer to mature and van Riemsdyk has been no different. Trouble is, he's coming off an injury-plagued season and is being asked to switch to pivot, a position he hasn't played since college. Expect the Middletown, New Jersey native to get a long look with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, and, if sparks fly, a 65-point season is within reach. That doesn't seem like much, but that's a 62 per cent increase in production for JVR. If the experiment at center fails, he'll still be a worthy fantasy left winger beside Mikhail Grabovski on the second line.
van Riemsdyk's solid play the last two years factored into the Flyers' decision to part ways with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and it's certain Philly expects big things from the winger in his third NHL season. He'll likely be matched up with Claude Giroux and the newly-signed Jaromir Jagr this season.
It was quite a freshman campaign for van Riemsdyk, who among rookies ranked fifth in goals scored (15), eighth in assists (20) and eighth in points (35). There's no doubting his talent but his minus-1 rating and the fact that he was a healthy scratch numerous times throughout the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals suggests he's just not quite there yet. Van Riemsdyk certainly has the ability and supporting cast to take a step forward this season. He's ahead of the curve in his career at this point, but don't expect a major leap on a team that was on the precipice of a championship just a few months ago - though just a small improvement in his numbers would make him quite the second-year player.
After concluding a strong two-year run at the University of New Hampshire, van Riemsdyk joined Philly's AHL club for a brief 11-game stretch at the end of last season. At 6-3, van Riemsdyk has added strength to a once-slender frame, pushing his weight up 210 pounds during the offseason in hopes of making the team's Opening Night roster. In the perfect scenario, van Riemsdyk would get an opportunity to skate on the third line with Giroux at some point this season, but a partial season with the Phantoms is a likely outcome unless he has a very strong training camp. Flyers fans may always compare van Riemsdyk to Chicago's Patrick Kane - Kane was the first overall selection by Chicago in 2007 after the Flyers had the worst record in the league but ended up with the second pick because of the lottery system. A better comparison based on skill set is Anaheim's Bobby Ryan, which would certainly please the team's front office.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 draft has decided to spend the coming season at the University of New Hampshire, but the Flyers hope to have the big forward in their lineup soon - as early as the 2009-10 season.
Philadelphia added a top winger prospect for down the road when they selected this New Jersey native with the No.2 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He proved himself a top prospect in 2006-07, leading the way in the NTDP with a 63-point season in just 42 games. He will begin his collegiate career this year at the University of New Hampshire. van Riemsdyk will likely be a top power forward, good chance that he'll turn pro in the next two seasons, so keep an eye on him.
vanRiemsdyk fits the emerging mould of young NHLers -- big, fast and skilled. He's 6'3" and 200 lbs at the tender age of 18, and his abilities earned him a ticket to the 2007 World Junior Championships for Team USA at just 17. He's one of the best of the 2007 NHL draft class but needs to mature. He heads to the University of New Hampshire for 2007-2008 and figures to take a solid four or five years to make a dent in the NHL. Mind you, it's going to be a big dent when he gets there.