When James Van Riemsdyk was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn, I just knew JVR would go to Toronto and become a better player. Not because that’s what most NHL’ers do when they have a lot of potential and never perform in their current city after being traded, with a fresh start. But because he played for the Philadelphia Flyers.
James Van Riemsdyk to me, is just a Paul Holmgren “demon” product of when the Flyers lost the draft lottery and missed out on Patrick Kane. And I’m not alone on this, apparently the Flyers always felt the same way. GM Paul Holmgren that is
The Flyers drafted James Van Riemsdyk 2nd overall in the 2007 NHL draft after having to sulk while watching the Blackhawks draft the number one pick, Patrick Kane.
What did the Flyers then do?
They watched a young Patrick Kane play all 82 games in the 2007-2008 season where he scored 21 goals and added 51 assists. Finishing the season with 72 points, in his first NHL season. Then turned around and played 80 games in the 2008-2009 season where he scored 25 goals, 45 assists and finished the season with 70 points.
That’s two seasons in a row where Kane reached 70 points, and guess what, it was just his first two seasons in the NHL while James Van Riemsdyk had zero.
Flyers Paul Holmgren had enough, and had to try and “match” the numbers. So he turned around, and threw an undeveloped James Van Riemsdyk in the 2009-2010 NHL season.
The 2009-2010 NHL season was the year – ironically enough – where the Flyers and Blackhawks met in the Stanley Cup Finals. JVR in 21 playoff games that year he scored just 3 goals and 3 assists while Patrick Kane played 22 games scoring 10 goals and 18 assists.
Do I even have to mention who scored the Stanley Cup winning goal, in Philly that year? Patrick Kane….
Ever since the 2007 draft GM Paul Holmgren has been chasing something that was never his, and hoping one day James Van Riemsdyk would turn into what he was chasing. A player exactly like Patrick Kane.
Did he ever get that player? No not at all.
James Van Riemsdyk followed up his 1st NHL season in 2010-2011 with 40 points, 21 goals and 19 assists. He played 75 games that year and beat his NHL rookie season points total by 5 points. Sorry JVR, but to Paul Holmgren that just wasn’t good enough.
What was good enough for Holmgren was signing JVR to a $25.5M contract extension in the summer of 2011. The same year Holmgren traded captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who also had hefty contracts that were “un-trade able”.
Catch my drift?
To make matters worse for JVR, the 2011-2012 season was a disastrous season for the 3rd year player. He suffered a few injuries and only played in 43 regular season games. He finished that season with just 15 points. On top of the injuries he had to deal with trade rumors that kept swarming around. The trade rumor was JVR for Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn, straight up.
Well, turns out it was more then a trade rumor. Because in the 2012 offseason James Van Riemsdyk was traded for Luke Schenn. The Flyers, I mean Paul Holmgren, finally let go of his “demons” and went after a young promising defenseman to eventually replace Chris Pronger.
So why am I writing all this? To be one of the few who apologize.
I’m not going to lie, I never liked James Van Riemsdyk. I always thought he was too slow, and never used his body frame out on the ice. He was too soft for my liking. But looking back at what he had to deal with in Philly, I regret ever “hating” James Van Riemsdyk.
I never realized how rough he actually had it here and how many expectations were put on him from day one. Instead of letting him develop into the NHL, the Flyers hammered him with expectations. And the fans had a lot to do with it as well, including myself.
So far in this shortened 48 game season JVR has 11 goals and 4 assists in just 18 games played. He stands currently 5th in scoring while Patrick Kane currently sits in 8th.
For a Toronto team that took a big gamble before the season started they are getting EVERYTHING they expected out of James Van Riemsdyk. He’s scoring and playing pretty big numbers so far.
I’ve yet to watch a full Maple Leafs game but from the highlights I’ve seen, JVR is doing EXACTLY what he should be doing in his 4th NHL season as a developed player.
Good for you James Van Riemsdyk, I take back EVERY bad thing I’ve ever said about you. But it’s up to you to continue this play. Don’t embarrass yourself by having a great season in Toronto just to follow up with a disappointing season.
And one last thing, unblock me from Twitter.
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