Philadelphia Flyers Final Player Grades: James van Riemsdyk

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With the 2019-20 NHL regular season likely over, we can fully evaluate individual players from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Even if the Philadelphia Flyers were still playing hockey right now, James van Riemsdyk wouldn’t have been a part of it. His regular season essentially ended two weeks ago thanks to a broken finger suffered while blocking a shot. As such, he’s one of the few players who actually stands to benefit if and when the NHL resumes play, the injury only having cost him three games by that point.

But what about the first 66 games this season when he was healthy enough to suit up for the Flyers? Unfortunately, I think we could call his results uneven at best.

Yes, JVR was on pace to crack 20 goals (maybe even 25) if not for his injury and/or the NHL’s current pause, but not every goal is created equal. In fact, much of van Riemsdyk’s production this season felt…empty.

There were the two points he scored in an ugly 7-3 loss to Winnipeg back in December. And a pair of goals in a 6-1 rout of Buffalo a few days later. Even though he posted a borderline respectable 40 points this year, not many of them seemed to make a difference.

JVR failed to score in the first seven games of the season. Then he potted three goals in the next two games, only to follow that up with one goal over the next 16 games. To be fair, there were a few hot stretches in there (8 points in a 5-game span last month), but JVR never really got going this year.

Truthfully, he feels like a square peg in a round hole even as the Flyers are on the hook for three more years of his contract at $7 million a pop thanks to “patient” former GM Ron Hextall signing him back in 2018.

This all probably sounds unduly harsh, but it’s not meant to be anything more than an objective evaluation.

JVR still possesses the ability to lift an offense from time to time, but it’s not easy when you’re playing third-line minutes. Throw in the fact that his power play scoring (9 points this year) has all but dried up, and it’s no wonder that JVR will finish this season with his lowest points per game average since his third season in the league, after which the Flyers traded him to Toronto for Luke Schenn.

We’re not looking at terrible numbers here, and van Riemsdyk has in fact impressed this season with a playmaking ability that isn’t his usual forte. But for this kind of money, the team just needs more from a guy who seems to disappear for long stretches of time.

It’s looking more and more likely that the Flyers will leave JVR exposed in the expansion draft next year when Seattle enters the league. But I really don’t see the Kraken biting on him at that time, not for that money at his current level of production.

It’d be wrong to totally write off James van Riemsdyk, but he’s clearly not part of the core group that is currently driving this Flyers team. And that’s a shame, because he plays hard and is a good teammate.

C-. <strong>It’s a results-based business, and JVR’s 40 points in 66 games (down from 48 points in the same number of games last year) are underwhelming despite the team’s increased success this year. One wonders what the next few seasons hold for him. It probably won’t be pretty.</strong>. LW. Philadelphia Flyers. JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK

Next. Flyers Grades: Travis Konecny. dark