Flashback Friday: James van Riemsdyk Traded to Toronto Maple Leafs


Whenever a team participates in a trade, they are taking a risk. All of the research possible could have been conducted and a transaction could backfire. In “Flashback Friday” we will travel through history and revisit trades from the National Hockey League’s past. Our voyage begins on June 23rd, 2012 when the Philadelphia Flyers sent young forward, James van Riemsdyk, to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Flashback Friday: James van Riemsdyk Traded to Toronto Maple Leafs

Former Flyers General Manager, Paul Holmgren, made a reputation in Philadelphia as someone who was not afraid to make a risky deal. Shortly after the 2012 NHL Entry Draft came to a close, he would pull the trigger on another one, sending Van Riemsdyk to Toronto in exchange for Luke Schenn.

Philadelphia selected van Riemsdyk with the second-overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The New Jersey native had a strong rookie campaign in 2009-10, recording 35 points in 78 games. He followed that up with an even better sophomore year, tallying 40 points in 75 games. Unfortunately, JVR was sidelined for just under half of the 2011-12 season with injuries. He was only able to play in 43 games but still managed to score 11 goals and add 13 assists.

Schenn was also a former first-round pick, selected by Toronto fifth-overall in 2008. The big-bodied blueliner was known for his hard-hitting, physical style of play, and appeared to be just what the Flyers needed to improve their depleted and aging blueline. It also helped that Philadelphia was already home to Luke’s younger brother, Brayden Schenn, which made for a nice family reunion story.

The Outcome

In his five-and-a-half seasons in Toronto, Van Riemsdyk has been a valuable part of the roster. When healthy, he has provided the Leafs with plenty of offense. He has recorded 27, 29, and 30 goals in the three seasons he has been able to play 80 or more games.

This season, Van Riemsdyk is off to a strong start. He has 19 goals and 10 assists in 44 games and is a strong mentor to all of Toronto’s young players. JVR is an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season and should receive a nice paycheck this summer.

Schenn, on the other hand, did not pan out the way Philadelphia had hoped. To say he was horrible for the orange and black could be seen as an over-exaggeration. However, when you are a defenseman taken fifth overall, the expectation is that you will transform into a top-pairing blueliner. That was never the case with Schenn as he was never anything more than a big body on defense.

Schenn’s tenure with the Flyers would come to an end in January 2016 when he was sent to the Los Angeles Kings with Vincent Lecavalier. In return, Philadelphia would receive Jordan Weal and a third-round pick.

 The Winner is…

Determining the winner of this trade is quite simple. The Maple Leafs hands-down received the better part of this deal. Maybe James Van Riemsdyk hasn’t fully lived up to the expectations of a former second-overall pick. However, he has had a pretty successful career to this point and should continue to do so.

The same cannot be said for Luke Schenn. He has developed into nothing more than a bottom-pairing blueliner that as already witnessed his best day pass him by. There is no doubt that the Flyers would love to hit the reset button on this transaction. Unfortunately, such a button does not exist.

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  1. You make it sound as if James had health issues that have affected his career whereas in fact he had a broken foot, I believe it was, then they shut him down for an extra 20 games so they could get Auston Matthews. Can’t say a guy is not healthy when a puck broke his foot.


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