How the Toronto Maple Leafs Could Best Use James Van Riemsdyk

Amy Streifer@AmyStreiferCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2012

TORONTO - APRIL 6: James van Riemsdyk #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates up the ice during an NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on April 6, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

James van Riemsdyk has spent his career in the NHL as a left winger, but the newest member of the Toronto Maple Leafs will most likely be playing as a center this upcoming season. Van Riemsdyk will be a significant improvement for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were one of the worst teams last year with a 35-37-10 record. 

Van Riemsdyk was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason, and the Flyers' loss might just turn into the Maple Leafs' gain.

The 23-year-old only played in 43 games last year due to injuries, but he still managed to score 11 goals and finished with 13 assists. Van Riemsdyk had seven goals in 11 games during the 2011 playoffs with Philadelphia and he'll hope to make the Maple Leafs contenders for next year's postseason run.

If Toronto wants to be successful, it must put van Riemsdyk at center, despite the fact that it's not his preferred position. 

Van Riemsdyk played as center in college, for The University of New Hampshire, and he will now experience the position in the NHL. If the Leafs wanted to add size to their roster, they made a good choice. The 6'3", 200-pound Van Riemsdyk will add size, skill, agility and speed.

The Maple Leafs have been trying to fill the position at center for quite some time. Mats Sundin left the team in 2008, so acquiring Van Riemsdyk and putting him at center could quite possibly be the best decision it makes during this offseason.