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James van Riemskyk QOD

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Due to everything going on around the Flyers this off-season, I feel one major story has fallen through the cracks. That is the development of former second-overall pick James van Riemsdyk. We have had so much to talk about whether it was the signings, re-signings, trades, the loss of Gagne, the emergence of Testwuide (hopefully), the goalie situation, the farm system, Homer, and once we started to get excited about the offence next year, we certainly weren't talking about Reemer. Most people are ecstatic about having a healthy Carter, our new best friend Ville Lieno, a star in the making in Giroux, and a focused and determined Scott Hartnell, that the development of our highest pick since... ever (have to look that up, not positive) ... has gotten lost in the jumble that is the NHL off-season.

 

It is hard to really grade JVR. Do you compare him to Patrick Kane? An NHL ready-from-day-one unanimous number one pick? Do you compare him to Jonathan Tavares? A guy who from the start got 18 minutes per game to Reemer's less than 13? Do you compare him to the other wingers on the Flyers who have been in the NHL for years and years? No. Its pretty tough to compare him to anyone at all. Considering he won his spot in camp, when management really didn't think he could, that's a win for him right there. He now comes into this year as a vet, not a rookie. If JVR were 32 years old, winning a spot in camp, working your way into 78 games, and racking up 30 points would be amazing. However, being the highest draft pick by a franchise ever, 30 in 78 just wont cut it.

 

The stats were decent, and expected. He started hot (expected). He got extremely cold (expected). He got bashed ALLLL SEASON by Mario D (expected- had to throw that in there, and where is MarioD by the way???). He caught his second wind and finished off decent (expected). 15 goals, 20 assists, 35 points, -1 rating. Decent. He had the 8th most points for freshmen skaters, while not placing in the top 60 for TOI/G (other top 7: 18,18,24(D-man),18,18,19(D-man)) and not even getting a minute and a half of PP time (other top 7: 3,4,3(D),2.5,1,4(D)). His point per ES TOI was highest in the league for rookies, which is really all you can ask for from a rookie third liner, getting less than 13 minutes a game. His defensive game was lacking, but a -1 on a team where everyone was minus wasn't bad either.

 

All of that said, the numbers only tell half of the story. The other half is how he matured through out the year. I honestly think his physicality and ability to play the boards got much better as the year went on. His defensive positioning got much better as he went along. It just looked like he generally got more comfortable as time went on. He and Claude started to click and that helped him a lot. When kids with that much talent start having fun together, that is when the big numbers click. JVR has limitless potential. His frame is perfect for that power guy in front of the net, all he needs is to bulk up. I think he'll have a shot to nab the LW spot with Carter and Richards, or at least play with Giroux and Zherdev, with worst case scenario being him with Claude and Carcillo. His PP time will go up from 1.5 to about 2.5, with his TOI being around 15-16 this year.


I think that there is great regular season improvement to be had on this upcoming Flyers team. Lieno, Hartnell, Carter, Zherdev, Briere, and Giroux will all have better years this year than last year, but JVR's improvement should top them all. How do you think  he will play this year?

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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