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James Van Riemsdyk

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Photo: Getty Images

It was quite the big weekend. I mean, how often do get a chance to sit around all day teaching your two year old nephew how to play hockey using his very first Maple Leafs mini-sticks? Oh, and apparently there was a draft and a couple of trades, too. I’ll do my best to offer some opinion, but a solid list of links will pick up where I left off and satisfy our hunger for seeing the Leafs roster evolve from the dogs breakfast into something at least comparable to Alphagetti with meatballs.

With the fifth pick in the 2012 draft, the Maple Leafs are proud to select…

Alright, if you check my twitter timeline on Friday night it’s very clear that I was more than a little upset that a skilled forward was not selected. I was listening to the draft on the radio while driving home from work, and the second that Griffin Reinhart was picked by the Islanders I assumed it was a foregone conclusion that we would see Filip Forsberg in a Leafs uniform. Am I still upset by this? Yes. Does this mean I think that Morgan Rielly is a crap prospect? Not at all.

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James Van Riemsdyk is finally a Toronto Maple Leaf.

While I had begun to sour somewhat on Schenn’s potential last season, it was a little odd to wake up this morning and remember #2 was now a member of an organization not named the Toronto Maple Leafs. Schenn was celebrated as the first pillar of the Leafs’ rebuild when Cliff Fletcher drafted him in 2008. Many a fan bought his jersey. Some said we had future captain material in Luke. Few would’ve predicted Schenn would be with a new organization before he turned 23.

I’m not going to call Schenn’s rookie season a mirage, but it was somewhat of a tease. We heard Pierre McGuire call this guy a Human Eraser and we saw it with our own eyes when he stepped onto NHL ice as an 18-year-old and tossed a 245-pound Keith Tkachuk to the ice. What seems to have happened between the Schenn we knew then and the one Burke just traded was a combination of expectations heightening and his development traveling the trajectory of a more normal young defenceman, as opposed to the beyond-his-years beast we came to know him as in junior and very early on in his NHL career.

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James Van Riemsdyk is finally a Toronto Maple Leaf.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The worst kept secret in all of hockey finally became a reality.

Luke Schenn is now a Philadelphia Flyer, and James Van Riemsdyk is finally a Toronto Maple Leaf.

JVR (whose name I’ll probably never type in full again) was the second overall pick in the 2007 draft and has had a slow, but upwards, trend in his development since. After getting drafted he returned to New Hampshire, where he played college hockey, and threw up 40 points in 36 games along with 10 points in six world junior games. He ended that season playing some AHL games, but jumped straight to the NHL the following year and put up a respectable 35 points in 78 games. The next year he had five more points in three less games well also breaking the 20 goal barrier by notching 21.

His big breakout moment though was in the playoffs of last year when he put up seven goals in 11 playoff games while single- handedly dominating some games. To put it into perspective, he had 70 shots throughout those playoffs. That’s over six shots a game. In the playoffs.

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James Van Riemsdyk

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Brian Burke’s radio interview on Wednesday seemed to speak volumes about what he was looking for and what he was willing to part with to improve the Leafs. It’s no secret that the main parts of any potential deal with the Flyers, if it were to happen, would be Luke Schenn and the highly skilled and big bodied James van Riemsdyk. The merits of Schenn and his contributions to the Toronto Maple Leafs are great, but if you want a great player, you have to move another one, unless you’re dealing with Darryl Sutter.

What exactly do we get with James van Riemsdyk? Well, Gus Katsaros was kind enough to provide us with the full scouting report on JVR and it is tantalizing to say the least.

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    On the topic of spin-o-ramas, here’s a highlight reel play from Leafs’ 6th rounder in 2006 Tyler Ruegsegger during recent collegiate action. [More after the jump, including an update from U of D head coach George Gwozdecky].

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      With the imposition of the salary cap taking some clout away from the financial Super Powers (or so they say), the “new” NHL focuses upon the importance of successful drafting and a constant flow of young players on cheap, entry-level contracts. With scouts now being dispatched to all corners of the globe, it’s getting to be quite a small world. The boundaries of the Hockey Community are ever-growing, and we’re starting to find ourselves with a neat little global village forming in the NHL.