When Philadelphia drafted James van Riemsdyk second overall in 2007, he thought he would “win a Cup or two” and “sail off into the sunset” as a member of the Flyers.
But it didn’t turn out that way. In June – after a challenging 2011-12 season which injuries limited to just 43 appearances – van Riemsdyk was traded to the Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn.
Tonight, the 23-year-old faces his former team in Toronto as his new team’s leading goal-scorer (7).
“I’ve always said in the past that when I’m given the opportunity to be a key contributor, I’ve held up my end of the bargain and was a productive player,” JVR told reporters on Sunday, per CSNPhilly.com.
“For whatever reason, over the last year, with injuries, those types of things got in the way. But I always knew that I had confidence in myself and when given the opportunity that I would make the most of it.”
Van Riemsdyk showed flashes of potential in Philadelphia. He was dominant at times during the 2010-11 playoffs, scoring seven times in 11 games.
Whether the Flyers live to regret trading van Riemsdyk, we’ll have to wait and see. Schenn has been playing “good steady defense” for Philadelphia (coach Peter Laviolette’s words), but his upside is probably more limited.
“I had some great years and some great memories in Philadelphia,” said van Riemsdyk. “But that’s all in the past now and it’s time to focus on what’s ahead.”