James van Riemsdyk is an amazing hockey player. He has played for team USA on numerous occasions and scored 118 goals as a Maple Leaf and his career high in goals is 30. But is he invaluable to this young Leafs team?
He scores goals left and right, but he gives up a lot of goals as well. He is purely an offensive player and a very strong net presence, which is not necessary for this Leafs team. They can easily find a player on the Marlies to replace him in offensive production like Kasperi Kapanen, who played six playoff games an recorded two goals, making him on pace for 28 goals in a regular season. And not every team has a Braden Holtby so… it’s really up to your imagination to guess how much he is going to produce offensively. Plus, Kapanen is much better defensively than van Riemsdyk so that will mean less goals given up, which is ideal.
On the Marlies, you have left-wingers like Andreas Johnson (21 years old) who has 20 goals in 75 games played, and Brendan Leipsic (22 years old) who has 18 goals in just 49 games. I’m not calling van Riemsdyk old, but he is 27 years old and he will definitely be asking for more than 4.25 million when his contract is up in 2018. You might as well see if you can get a hefty return for him.
After the Larsson-for-Hall trade, I wonder if the Leafs will try something like that with JVR. The Leafs need some upgrades on the back end, and trading JVR might be a good choice. He can be replaced offensively, and any Marlies player will be better defensively than him.
As for his net front presence, the Leafs will find a replacement. Besides, the lines will be shaken up next season, so I’m sure that they can fix that problem internally.
JVR has been with this team through some of its worst moments, but sadly, he will not be a part of this team’s promising future. He’s too much of a liability on defence and he will be too expensive to resign so you might as well get your money’s worth right now.
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