Philadelphia Flyers forward James Van Riemsdyk hasn't played since March 1 when he broke his foot but wants to get back into his team's lineup for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, according to NBC Sports.
“I’m just taking it day-by-day right now,” JVR told NHL.com prior to Game 4. “I’m on the right path so I’m just going to keep worrying about that. You just have to take it one game at a time and when your number gets called be ready to go.”
Van Riemsdyk practiced on Thursday and skated with Jakub Voracek and Matt Read as linemates. The Flyers aren't having trouble scoring goals against the Penguins, but the addition of JVR would certainly be a big boost to the team's size up front.
Van Riemsdyk is a power forward who can score goals, and is one of the team's best young players. Last year, JVR was starting to find his game in the playoffs and scored seven goals in 11 postseason games.
However, he was unable to continue his strong play as the Flyers were eliminated in four games by the Boston Bruins in the conference semifinals.
Van Riemsdyk's offensive talent is too good for him to sit if he's healthy enough to play, so Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette will have to cut someone's minutes when JVR returns.
Eric Wellwood, Zack Rinaldo or even Wayne Simmonds could see their ice time decrease a bit when JVR is ready to return to the Flyers lineup. Wellwood and Rinaldo have zero points in the playoffs thus far, while Simmonds has just four.
Van Riemsdyk is just 22 years old, so the Flyers need to be careful and make sure he's ready for action before throwing him into a playoff series that is very physical right now.
When he does return, JVR will be a massive upgrade to an already dangerous and deep Flyers forward group.
Nicholas Goss is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and has covered the Boston Bruins firsthand throughout the season. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.