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An Obligatory Check-in with James van Riemsdyk amid Maple Leafs Visit to Philly

Feb 25, 2013, 1:07 PM EDT

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We’ll be keeping an eye on the trajectory of their careers for
years to come, but we are reminded to check in on the James van
Riemsdyk-for-Luke Schenn swap every time the Flyers meet the Toronto Maple
Leafs. JVR makes his first trip back to the Wells Fargo Center since he was
traded on Monday night, and he returns with 11 goals already in 2013 – good for
sixth place in the NHL.

Van Riemsdyk has really begun to flourish for Toronto, his
15 points tying him for the clubhouse lead with All-Star Phil Kessel and
impressive young center Nazem Kadri. JVR has been by far their best goal-scorer
though – the next-closest player on the team is the surprising Matt Frattin
with seven – and he’s been lighting the lamp in bunches, earning his third
multi-goal game of the season last Thursday versus Buffalo. Van Riemsdyk is
also in a tie for eighth on the NHL leaderboard in shots on goal.

There’s no question the change of scenery continues to be a
good thing for the Middletown, New Jersey native. He’s showcasing true All-Star
potential, and perhaps is on the verge of finally living up to his status as
the second-overall pick in the ’07 draft if he can keep up this level of
production.

You hate to let a player go when he has that kind of ability,
but I’m not sure you would say the Flyers got robbed or anything. The change of
scenery has mostly been kind to Luke Schenn as well, who has quickly become
Philadelphia’s most physical presence on the blue line. Schenn is fifth in the
NHL in hitting (second on the Flyers to Zac Rinaldo), and his 41 blocked shots
puts him among the league leaders in that category as well. He hasn’t been
afraid to drop the gloves, either.

It’s too soon to declare either side winners or losers, but
even amid JVR’s breakout year it’s hard to feel bad about the exchange. The
Flyers’ offense has been on a roll of late, climbing to eighth in the rankings with
2.90 goals per game, so it’s not as if they miss him desperately. Despite the
addition of Schenn though, Philly is allowing the eighth-highest goals
against at 3.05, so obviously they still need work on the back end.

Of course JVR drew first blood on his old team two weeks ago,
skating right around Schenn then finding twine to put the exclamation point on a
5-2 Maple Leafs win. However, it could be awhile before we know who has the last
laugh.