Report: James Van Riemsdyk, Flyers to Agree to 5-Year, $35M Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs' James van Riemsdyk in action during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

On the heels of one of his best NHL seasons, winger James van Riemsdyk is returning to where it all began, as he reportedly agreed to a free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. 

According to ESPN's John Buccigross, Van Riemsdyk is set to sign a five-year, $35 million contract with the team that originally drafted him.

In 2017-18, JVR netted a career-high 36 goals to go along with 18 assists for 54 points with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 29-year-old forward also added three goals and one assist in seven playoff games, as Toronto fell to the Boston Bruins in the first round.

Van Riemsdyk entered the league with plenty of hype after the Flyers selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft.

Although he showed flashes of brilliance, the American lasted only three seasons with the Flyers before they traded him to Toronto in 2012 for defenseman Luke Schenn.

JVR found his stride as a goal scorer in Toronto, and he has struck at least 27 goals in each of his past four full seasons.

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From an all-around perspective, it can be argued the 2016-17 campaign was Van Riemsdyk's best, as he finished with 29 goals and 33 assists for a career-high 62 points.

While much of the focus was on youngsters such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, JVR's skill helped tie everything together.

Van Riemsdyk is the ideal power forward for the current NHL, as he is listed at 6'3" and 217 pounds, but he also has quick hands that allow him to pull off some impressive feats in high-percentage areas on the ice.

Although JVR hasn't quite lived up to his full potential and put up numbers becoming of a No. 2 overall draft pick, he is a consistent scorer, and he has appeared in at least 80 games in four of the past five seasons.

Since the Leafs have to worry about locking up their young stars to long-term deals in the near future and also signed John Tavares away from the New York Islanders, re-signing van Riemsdyk was something they couldn't afford to do.

Toronto's loss is Philadelphia's gain, as JVR has developed into a strong supporting-cast player capable of playing an important role in the top six.

The Flyers already have a strong forward group that includes the likes of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds and Nolan Patrick, and it can be argued that JVR's return gives them one of the NHL's best offensive attacks.