Toronto Maple Leafs: Reasons James Van Riemsdyk Is Not the Answer at Center
On June 23, 2012 the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired the services of American James Van Riemsdyk in a trade that saw defenseman Luke Schenn head in the opposite direction.
At 23 years old, Van Riemsdyk certainly has a promising future, but is he currently the answer at center for the Maple Leafs?
I think not.
Read on to hear a few of the reasons why Toronto made a big mistake putting all its eggs in his basket.
Center Isn't His Natural Position
Van Riemsdyk is a winger and has been for many years, simple as that.
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle revealed, however, that his master plan is to transition him to center once training camp opens in September.
During his time the the Flyers, Van Riemsdyk was drawn into the faceoff circle 10 times.
You want to hear a stat?
Of those 10 times, he won only twice.
If he is truly going to be a top-two line center, he needs some serious improvement.
This guy is a mess and a liability.
He's had a broken foot, a concussion, a strained oblique and a strained rib in the past year and was forced to miss half of the Flyers' 2011-12 season.
Considering the fact that Van Riemsdyk will likely be skating on one of the top two lines next year is a bit concerning.
Where's the depth?
I'm not saying Van Reimsdyk doesn't have the quality to help Toronto, but the Maple Leafs will want to avoid midseason injury woes at all costs.
Toronto Need a Proven Center
The Toronto Maple Leafs have fallen short of the playoffs for the past seven seasons on the bounce.
I think it's about time that changed, but bringing in an unproven center to the first (or second) line does not bode well for success.
GM Brian Burke should really consider looking to a more tried and tested center, rather than a young winger with virtually no experience at the position.