Fantasy Take: JvR Returns to Philly
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed left wing James van Riemsdyk. According to John Buccigross of ESPN, it is a five-year contract with a $7 million cap number.
The Flyers get: A scoring winger who followed the trend of a fourth-year breakout, which happened right after he was traded by the Flyers to Toronto. During his six seasons in Toronto, van Riemsdyk averaged 30 goals in the four seasons that he played at least 80 games in. He scored a career-high 36 goals last season, with 11 of those goals coming on the power play.
Fantasy Players Impacted:
First, van Riemsdyk himself. Although he received significant power-play minutes in Toronto, he was held to under 14 minutes of even-strength icetime over the last two seasons, which meant that he was held to just 14:54 of overall icetime in 2017-18 and 15:53 of overall icetime in 2016-17. That should improve in Philly based on the Flyers’ investment amount alone.
The Flyers don’t have a ton of natural left wingers, so they are clearly filling a positional need with this signing. Oskar Lindblom, who played 23 games with the Flyers later in the season, played the vast majority of his even-strength minutes with Jakub Voracek and Nolan Patrick, so he could very easily get bumped down.
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, one of JvR, Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, or Travis Konecny are projected to be on the third line, assuming are all with the Flyers in 2018-19. The Flyers’ first-unit power play mainly consisted of Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Simmonds, and Voracek in 2017-18. JvR led the Leafs in power-play time on ice per game (2:17) and was second in goals (11), so he could easily bump one of these options from the first unit. That option will most likely be either Simmonds (17 PPP) or Couturier (14 PPP), who finished well behind Giroux (36 PPP) and Voracek (35 PPP) in that category.
As for the Leafs, the JvR departure could create an open roster spot for Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. There’s an outside chance that subsequent departures (eg. Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov) could also finally provide the big break that Josh Leivo needs, although Leivo is more likely to land full-time NHL duty in a place like Buffalo or Vancouver or even Edmonton.
It remains to be seen how the Leafs’ power play is affected, but could JvR’s spot be replaced by one John Tavares? The potential departure of Bozak could also create a second opening here too.
Fantasy players this helps, in order:
James van Riemsdyk
Claude Giroux/Jakub Voracek/Shayne Gostisbehere (on the power play)
Fantasy players this hurts, in order:
Wayne Simmonds (assuming he isn’t traded)
Fantasy owners are already discussing the trade in the Forum. Give your take here!