JVR has something to prove following Kessel trade

The Associated Press
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The acquisition of James van Riemsdyk from the Philadelphia Flyers back in the summer of 2012 has paid off nicely for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he’s something of a question mark now.

He had a career-high of 40 points before his first season with the Maple Leafs, but has gone on to record 75 goals and 149 points in 210 contests with the Leafs. The thing is though, he did that while spending more than three-quarters of his even-strength playing time on a line with Phil Kessel. Even when van Riemsdyk was selected to represent Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics and averaged more than a point per game, it was with Kessel at his side.

Now that Kessel has been traded to Pittsburgh, the Leafs will be looking to van Riemsdyk to help keep their offense going, but he’s also one of the players that could be most effected by the move.

“That’s a good question,” van Riemsdyk said when asked what it will be like for him without Kessel, per TSN. “Now we’ll see it more so.”

While it’s a potential problem for van Riemsdyk, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that he can still be a serious offensive threat without the likes of Kessel. van Riemsdyk is still just 26 years old, so he’s one of the players that could be in a leadership role once Toronto emerges from its current rebuilding process.