James van Riemsdyk Scouting Report by Gus Katsaros and Ryan Dadoun
The former Flyers winger recorded just 75 points in 153 games before signing a six-year/$25.5 million contract that will begin at the start of the 2012-13 campaign. His rookie and sophomore numbers didn’t justify that kind of commitment, but the Philadelphia Flyers were convinced his skillset was worth the risk based on potential. Selected second overall in 2007, the winger was plagued by injuries in 2011-12 and posted a career-low 24 points in 43 contests as a result. Still, he’s only just 23 and has exceptional tools. He stands at an imposing six-foot-three and has been adding muscle and upper body strength. The Middletown, New Jersey native has shown some willingness to throw his body around, but he primarily uses the wingspan that comes with that kind of size. Possessing a good change of pace, ‘JVR’ has impressive top speed to throw off defenders. He’s first and foremost a playmaker with great hand sand both the ingenuity and skill to get the puck to his target, even with obstructed passing lanes. However, he’s also got a great snapshot and he can fire lasers without breaking his stride. He’s a major net presence, positioning his body in front without the puck. He could be more aggressive defensively and his overall consistency has been an issue since entering the league. Leaf interest went back far into the season and Brian Burke might have acquired him during 2011-12 season if not for a concussion. He figures to serve as a left wing fixture long-term and might flirt as a centre.
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