While everyone is still talking about the likes of John Tavares, Erik Karlsson, Jeff Skinner, Max Pacioretty, as well as UFA signings and trades that have yet to be made, there is one player that scored a big deal this summer that will end up benefiting both sides.
On one of the first day of free agency, the Philadelphia Flyers jumped at the chance to bring back James van Riemsdyk. The Flyers were smart enough to lock him up to a five-year, $35 million deal.
For starters, JVR, 29, produces on a consistent basis. The numbers may not be gaudy, but his point totals since joining the Leafs were 32 (in 48 games), 61, 56, 29 (in 40 games), 62, and 54. Again, those numbers aren’t huge, but in the “new” NHL and on this Flyers’ hockey club, they will not only be more than serviceable, but they will be welcomed with open arms.
Speaking of producing, JVR can put the puck in the net. He scored a career high 36 goals last season and some of them were absolute beauties.
Secondly, he comes up big when it matters most. He has 31 career game-winning goals in the regular season and another 2 in the postseason. Every team in the NHL could use a guy that can score timely goals.
JVR will also be a key cog on this team’s power play. He had 20 points with the man advantage last season, including 11 power play goals.
He will be bringing all of these skills to a team that already has a lot of offensive talent. With guys like Claude Giroux (34 goals and 68 assists for 102 points), Jakub Voracek (20 goals and 65 assists for 85 points), Wayne Simmonds (24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points), Sean Couturier (31 goals and 45 assists for 76 points), and Nolan Patrick (13 goals and 17 assists) already there, this team is now absolutely stacked up front.
JVR said as much to Philly News writer Sam Donnellon when speaking about what he is looking forward to this upcoming season.
“The great thing is there’s lots of great options,” he said. “There’s a lot of talented players, and for me, there’s a lots of good right shot players. Being a lefty, it’s fun to play with right-shot players. I think that chemistry comes a little more naturally with that sort of stuff.”
The Flyers and JVR are in good position to have a lot of success together for the next several years. The team has a solid offensive core and a young and talented defensive corps.
If the Flyers can ever figure out their goaltending, this team is going to be solid for the next few seasons, especially with JVR back in the fold.
Photo: NBC Sports Philadelphia