Good column by John Boruk over at CSNPhilly.com about the future of 22-year-old forward James van Riemsdyk in Philadelphia.
It’s been a less-than-stellar season for the former No. 2 overall draft pick. Many (including myself) thought this would be his breakout campaign after last year’s playoffs when he scored seven times in 11 games and looked dominant at times, but it hasn’t turned out that way. He only has 11 goals in 42 games and was the subject of fairly intense trade speculation prior to the deadline.
This season was set up perfectly for the 22-year-old left winger to have a breakout campaign. He was paired with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr on the Flyers’ top line to start the season, and despite two goals in his first five games, it wasn’t enough to keep that trio paired together. Eight games into the season, Scott Hartnell was given top-line royalty status and four months later, he’s still wearing the crown. Hartnell’s season is what I had envisioned for JVR.
We’ve seen glimpses of stardom: a two-goal game on nine shots in that crazy 9-8 loss to Winnipeg and another two-goal game against the Blackhawks in early January. But the cutoff line between “pretty good” and “great” can be summed up in one word: consistency. And that’s what van Riemsdyk doesn’t possess right now.
Perhaps Flyers fans that have seen JVR more than I have this season can voice their thoughts in the comments section. Has his play warranted the speculation he may be traded, or is it more about the depth of forwards in Philly that’s squeezed him out of a top-six role?