Philadelphia Flyers: James van Riemsdyk is coming back to Philly

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Under the heavy restrictions of a contending rebuild, the Philadelphia Flyers made a big free agent addition by bringing back former wing James van Riemsdyk.

Somehow, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was expected to both make an impactful signing that would help the team in a deep playoff run, while not adding a contract that would restrict them in the future. Hextall also put a limit on himself saying multiple times that he wasn’t interested in signing a player to a long-term contract.

Easy, right?

Well, late Saturday night, TSN’s Frank Seravalli first reported that Toronto Maple Leafs‘ left winger James van Riemsdyk hadn’t narrowed his list of teams down. Two hours later, Seravalli also reported that JvR was headed back to Philly.

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JvR scored a career-high 36 goals last season while playing in a third line role with the Maple Leafs. Behind the Islanders John Tavares, JvR was considered the next best offensive free agent, with Luke Fox of Sportsnet ranking him at #2 of available free agents. However, with Tavares off the table (and probably never realistically on the table at all) Hextall refocused his effort to JvR, with a little nudging from the Captain himself.

JvR’s new deal with the Flyers is reported for five-years, $35 million, probably right in Hextall’s desired range. Though there was some interest in JvR from other teams, they reportedly offered the 29-year-old winger longer contracts, but for less money per year. Familiarity and an extra million per year swayed JvR to come back, leaving the team roughly $14.7 million left to play with.

On a team that’s struggled to find scoring outside of its top line on multiple occasions, JvR brings a scoring touch that the Flyers could add to the top six. And for all the fans concerned that the Flyers don’t shoot the puck enough, JvR finished last season with a 14.5 shooting percentage. That would put him just under Claude Giroux (17.6) and above Sean Couturier (13.7). Though technically Valterri Filppula had a 15.7 shooting percentage for the season, but with only 70 shots on goal all season, compared to Giroux’s 193 shots and Couturier’s 227 shots those numbers are a bit misleading.

JvR’s 36 goals would have made him the Flyers’ best scorer, and his 54 points would have been third on the team.

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Though the Philadelphia Flyers still have a few areas they need to address this offseason but with the addition of JvR, everything else becomes a little less pressing.