James vanRiemsdyk: Is He Philadelphia's Next Hated Athlete?

Scott LoblawContributor IApril 1, 2009

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 08: James vanRiemsdyk #21 of Team USA skates against Team Sweden at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp on August 8, 2008 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Could we be adding another name to Philadelphia's long list of hated athletes? If what sources are telling me has any substance, then James vanRiemsdyk, whom the Flyers chose No. 2 overall in the 2007 Entry Draft, the highly touted power forward, will never play a game with the Philadelphia Flyers.

I am told that by June 26, the Flyers will have traded away the rights to the 6'3", 200 pound blue chip prospect from Middleton, New Jersey.

It apparently stems from a difference in opinion between James' parents and the Flyers management over how long he should actually stay in school. He just completed his second year at the University of New Hampshire.

The Flyers want him to turn pro after his first year in the NCAA program, but his parents prefer that he gets four years of education. Now, it would seem that the ultimatum has been delivered and it is reported that the young player is doing some "soul searching" on where to go from here.

He turns 20 years old in May, so the decision should be his, but when the Flyers faithful hear about the parents meddling in the decision, of course they get nightmares of Carl and Bonnie Lindros all over again.

Also, it is reported that the Flyers management have been dealing with their "adviser," which again gives the Flyers Lindros headache flashbacks of when his family hired lawyer Gordon Kirke to handle their affairs.

The whole issue brings up another interesting debate on what should be more important—getting his full education while running the chance of properly developing his hockey skills or concentrating on becoming a great hockey player.

Personally, I think it is an easy choice for someone with talent of his magnitude. It is obvious (or very likely) that he will have a long career as an NHL player, barring injury.

On his first contract alone, he will make almost $3 million in base salary over three years, plus any bonuses. If something happens where it does not work out, then school will still be there; he can finish his education then. 

I think the kid is going to have a great NHL career, and with the salary cap nowadays, he will be ready to make the club for the start of the 2009-10 season at an affordable price.

I would not be surprised if by Christmas he is starting to turn heads and getting the attention of USA Olympic GM Brian Burke, who will give him consideration to make the Olympic team in Vancouver.

James' decision is expected to come down in a press conference this afternoon within the next couple of hours. Go and read any newspaper or hockey blog and they all say the same thing, JvR will be a Flyer today and likely assigned to the Phantoms for their playoff run.

He is ineligible to join the Flyers because he was not signed prior to March 4. Here is to hoping I (my sources) am wrong.

Otherwise, I hope they don't have a "battery giveaway night" when he finally does make his way into Philadelphia with another team's logo on his chest.


Before I had a chance to post...


Phew! Shows what I know.