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After one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Flyers were rewarded with the second overall selection in the 2007 NHL entry draft, which quickly became Middletown, New Jersey, native James van Riemsdyk.
A 6'3", 200-pound power forward and product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, van Riemsdyk was a no-brainer for the orange and black.
After two years of seasoning at the University of New Hampshire, where he compiled 28 goals and 74 points in 67 games, van Riemsdyk joined the Flyers full time for the 2009-10 campaign. In that season, he notched 15 goals and 35 points in 78 games. The blossoming winger took another step forward the following year by amassing 21 goals and 40 points in 75 appearances during the regular season before producing seven goals in just 11 playoff contests.
But injuries limited van Riemsdyk to just 43 games the following season, and after a disappointing 11 tallies and 24 points during the 2011-12 campaign, Philadelphia shipped the power forward to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn.
The Flyers desperately needed to bolster their defense at the time, and Schenn was a former fifth overall selection in the 2008 NHL entry draft, so it seemed like a win for both sides. Sadly for Flyers fans, van Riemsdyk went on to tally 48 goals and 93 points in just 128 games in two seasons since the exchange, while Schenn has struggled to be a top-four defender in Philadelphia.
At the time, van Riemsdyk was the right pick for the Flyers. He was a powerful scoring winger with tremendous upside and local connections. It just simply didn't work out.
His time in Philadelphia was marred by inconsistency, but his production in Toronto proves all the tools are there to be a regular NHL goal scorer.
That said, Flyers fans can't help but think what could have been with some of the names Philly passed on back in 2007, including Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Max Pacioretty, Logan Couture and P.K. Subban.