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James van Riemsdyk expected to sign with the Flyers on Sunday, per reports

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If you were looking for a big move, this appears to be it.

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers - Game One
We made a photoshop of what James van Riemsdyk would look like in a Flyers jersey.

Free agency will officially start on Sunday, July 1 at noon. It sounds like the Flyers are going to have a fairly big splash to announce at that time, and it’ll feature a familiar face.

Multiple reports have broken late this Saturday evening — the first of which coming from TSN reporter and former Flyers beat Frank Seravalli — that the Flyers will be signing former second overall pick James van Riemsdyk to a contract when free agency opens up.

There’s a pretty good argument to be made that van Riemsdyk is the best non-John Tavares forward in this year’s free agent class, and with the Flyers not making Tavares’ group of suitors, Ron Hextall quickly pivoted to the next big name on the list.

van Riemsdyk, of course, was traded from Philadelphia to Toronto six years ago for Luke Schenn, right before the six-year contract that Paul Holmgren signed him to actually kicked in. JVR, who turned 29 in May, had a fairly successful tenure with the Maple Leafs — he scored 154 goals in his time there, including a career-high 37 last season — and he comes to the Flyers on what will, per ESPN’s John Buccigross, be a bit more expensive than that last one was:

We’ll have more reactions tomorrow if and when it becomes official, but for those of us (me included!) who were wondering if this was the time where Ron Hextall would decide to push his chips in and make a big move to improve the team now, it sure looks like that’s the case.

Wow.