James van Riemsdyk (JVR) was a highly sought out prospect coming in the 2007 NHL Draft. JVR was at times being compared to who most people thought, was the sure number one pick of 2007, Patrick Kane. Kane went to Chicago, and the Philadelphia Flyers had the next choice. The Flyers picked van Riemsdyk 2nd over all, and the rest is history in the making.
After being drafted, he made the announcement he would continue his College game, with two years remaining. In the 09-10 season, he signed his Entry Level contract for the Philadelphia Flyers and began his NHL career in the AHL. While on the (at the time) Philadelphia Phantoms JVR started to turn heads with his speed, hands, and size. He was called up to join the line that featured Sophomore stand out, Claude Giroux. Claude Giroux whom was also being tallied to be a huge young star in his own, began to build great chemistry with JVR. During that game, he had 1 goal, and 1 assist. During his 2nd game against the Devils, he had 2 more assists. He would play 78 games that year, recording 15 goals, and 20 assists.
This is only his 2nd year, and he has just as much potential as anyone in the NHL to date. JVR has been getting more and more time on the top lines, and when you get to play with true NHL stars like a Mike Richards, or Jeff Carter it can only help you down the road. I also have to think that knowing how the organization feels about JVR, and giving him some tough love with the recent benching has to only but reassure him that the Flyers truly want to make this relationship work out. At the same time, he has to realize he isn’t the only fish in this huge pond either.
Flyers coach Laviolette made a comment during one post game interview stating that he didn’t care too much at this point in his career about JVR scoring goals. He wanted JVR to be come more involved in the games in fore-checking, and using his size and speed. I truly believe that him learning to use his size is going to be the key, along with learning his speed and what he can physically do to gain advantages over opponents. Others in the Flyers organization have stated they feel he has 2 more years to mature. I truly believe next year will be the key year.
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