James van Riemsdyk

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James van Riemsdyk
James van Riemsdyk 2012-04-021.JPG
van Riemsdyk with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012
Born (1989-05-04) May 4, 1989 (age 32)
Middletown, New Jersey, U.S.
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 217 lb (98 kg; 15 st 7 lb)
Position Left wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs
National team  United States
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 2007
Philadelphia Flyers
Playing career 2009–present

James Frederick van Riemsdyk,[1] (born May 4, 1989), also known by his initials "JVR", is an American professional ice hockey left winger for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Van Riemsdyk began his NHL career with the Flyers, the organization that originally selected him second overall at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012. He later rejoined the Flyers as a free agent during the 2018 off-season. Additionally, he has represented the United States in numerous tournaments.

Early life[edit]

van Riemsdyk was born May 4, 1989 in Middletown, New Jersey to parents Frans and Allison van Riemsdyk.[2] He has two younger brothers who also play ice hockey: Trevor is a defenseman for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL),[3][4] while Brendan played for both the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University.[5] van Riemsdyk and his family grew up as fans of the New York Rangers.[6]

van Riemsdyk began playing hockey with the American Eagles of the Monmouth County Youth Hockey Association. After three years with the Eagles, he spent six years with the Brick Hockey Club in Brick Township, New Jersey.[7] Both James and Trevor would lead the Brick Stars to a national championship.[8] van Riemsdyk attended high school at Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Lincroft, New Jersey, where he made the varsity team as a freshman.[9] He continued to play with Brick, serving as team captain in the 2004–05 Midget AA season and leading the team to the Atlantic District Championship.[10] That same year, van Riemsdyk was part of the New Jersey Parochial championship-winning team at CBA.[11] In 2013, the Ocean Ice Palace in New Jersey retired van Riemsdyk's number 21 jersey.[12]

Following the 2004–05 season, van Riemsdyk left CBA to join the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[9] In his two seasons with the NTDP, van Riemsdyk scored 65 goals and 124 points, tying for fifth- and seventh-highest in program history at the time, respectively.[13] While playing for Team USA, van Riemsdyk became friends with future Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.[14]

Playing career[edit]

Amateur[edit]

Heading into the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, van Riemsdyk was ranked second among North American prospects by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, behind Kyle Turris and Kane.[15] Kane would become the first overall draft pick, taken by the Chicago Blackhawks, while van Riemsdyk was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.[16] Rather than entering the professional leagues immediately, van Riemsdyk committed to the University of New Hampshire, where he was roommates with the Washington Capitals draft pick Phil DeSimone.[17]

In his first season with New Hampshire, van Riemsdyk scored 34 points – 11 goals and 23 assists – in 31 games, and helped lead the team to an NCAA tournament berth for the sixth season in a row. He was named Hockey East's Rookie of the Month in both January and March 2008, and was named to the All-Hockey East Rookie Team.[18] The next season, he led the team with 17 goals and 23 assists before signing with the Flyers. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren called it a "difficult decision" for van Riemsdyk to leave New Hampshire, but that "we both believed that it was in his best interest to do so."[19]

Professional[edit]

Philadelphia Flyers[edit]

After finishing the 2008–09 season with the Flyers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms,[20] van Riemsdyk impressed coach John Stevens in the 2009 preseason, scoring four goals and an assist in the team's 7–3 victory in the annual rookie game against the Capitals.[21]

Van Riemsdyk was included in the Flyers' starting 2009–10 roster to play on a third line with prolific sophomore Claude Giroux. Van Riemsdyk scored his first career NHL point in his NHL debut, recording an assist on a powerplay goal by Mike Richards in a 2–0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.[22] His next game saw a return to his home state of New Jersey, where he contributed two more assists against the New Jersey Devils. He suffered a minor concussion shortly after that due to a hit by Washington defenseman Milan Jurčina in the Flyers' home opener and subsequently missed two games. Van Riemsdyk then scored his first goal on October 24 against Tomáš Vokoun of the Florida Panthers.[23]

Van Riemsdyk had an impressive month of November for a rookie, scoring four goals—three of which were game-winners—and five assists. For his performances, he was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for November.[24]

van Riemsdyk in 2011

During the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Philadelphia (who finished in seventh place in the Eastern Conference during the regular season) found themselves down three games to none against the sixth-seeded Boston Bruins. However, the Flyers mounted a comeback, defeating the Bruins in Game 7, marking just the third time in NHL history a team has won a series after being down by three games. With 2:50 left in the first period, van Riemsdyk scored his first career playoff goal, shifting the game's momentum to the Flyers.[25] Philadelphia went on to win the game 4–3 and the playoff series, four games to three. Not since the New York Islanders came back from a 3–0 deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975 had a team won four games in a row to win an NHL playoff series.[25] For van Riemsdyk's momentum-changing goal, he was named the impact player of the game. The Flyers went on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals, but lost the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks, in van Riemsdyk's first Finals appearance.

On February 15, 2011, in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, van Riemsdyk recorded his first Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight in the Flyers' first victory over the Lightning in the season series.[26] On March 26, in a game against the New York Islanders, van Riemsdyk recorded his first career NHL hat-trick in the Flyers' 4–1 victory.[27] Two of the three goals were scored in even-strength play, while the third came on the power play.[27]

In the opening round of the 2011 playoffs, van Riemsdyk had a very strong series and was a key to the Flyers' 4–3 series win over the Buffalo Sabres—he tallied four goals in the series, including the eventual game-winner in Game 7 to help the Flyers advance to the next round. He then followed the Buffalo series with three goals in four games against Boston as the Flyers were ultimately swept in four-straight by the Bruins. Despite only playing in 11 games, van Riemsdyk finished third in the entire playoffs in total shots with 70—behind only Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks—and led the playoffs in shots per game.

In the subsequent off-season, the Flyers re-signed forward James van Riemsdyk to a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension.[28] Van Riemsdyk, who was entering his third season in Philadelphia, provided the length of the extension on his Twitter. He was scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2011–12 season, a season in which he finished with then-career highs in points (40), goals (21) and plus-minus rating (+15).

In the 2012 season, van Riemsdyk broke his foot, requiring surgery.[29]

Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

On June 23, 2012, van Riemsdyk was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Luke Schenn.[30] During the lockout-shortened 2012–13 season with Toronto, van Riemsdyk scored 18 goals and 32 points while playing in all 48 regular season games. The Maple Leafs would make the playoffs for the first time since the 2003–04 season, but fell in the first round to the eventual Stanley Cup finalist Boston Bruins in seven games. Van Riemsdyk finished the playoffs with a team-leading seven points in seven games.

van Riemsdyk (right) with the Toronto Maple Leafs, defending John Carlson during the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.

On March 28, 2014, van Riemsdyk tied an NHL record for fastest goal to start off a period, scoring four seconds into the frame. He accomplished the feat against his former team, Philadelphia.[31] He currently shares the record with both Claude Provost and Denis Savard. By season's end, he set career-highs in goals (30) and points (61).

Despite a disappointing 2014–15 season for the Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk led the team in goals (27) while tallying 56 points in all 82 regular season games played. On November 4, 2014, van Riemsdyk recorded an assist on a goal by Cody Franson for his 200th career point.

During the 2015–16 season with the Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk fractured his left foot on January 11. Up to that point he was leading the team in points (29), and was second in goals (14), and shots (129) after 40 games. It was announced on February 25, 2016, that he was going to be sidelined for the remainder of the season.[32]

At the beginning of the 2016–17 season, van Riemsdyk was announced as 1 of the 100 greatest Toronto Maple Leafs players of all-time, placing 100th on the list.[33] On October 15, 2016, the Maple Leafs retired Börje Salming's number 21 jersey, prompting van Riemsdyk to change his number from 21 to 25.[34] At the end of the 2016–17 season, van Riemsdyk finished with 29 goals and career highs in assists and points with 33 and 62, respectively. The Leafs qualified for the 2017 playoffs, in which they lost in the first round in six games to the Washington Capitals. Van Riemsdyk recorded two goals and one assists for three points.

Van Riemsdyk scored the 20,000th goal in Toronto Maple Leafs history on the 100th anniversary of the Toronto Arenas' first game on December 19, 2017.[35] During the 2017–18 season, van Riemsdyk scored his third career hat-trick in a 6–5 win over the Dallas Stars on March 14, 2018.[36] By scoring three goals, van Riemsdyk took over the lead in team scoring for the season with 29.[36] The following day, van Riemsdyk recorded two goals and one assist in a 5–2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, setting a new career high in goals.[37] Van Riemsdyk played in his 600th regular season NHL game on March 20, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.[38][39] He recorded his 200th career NHL goal on March 28, 2018, in a 4–3 win over the Florida Panthers.[40] With his goal, he helped the Leafs set a new franchise record of 27 wins on home ice.[40] The Leafs qualified for the 2018 playoffs, but again lost to the Boston Bruins in the first round, in seven games.

Return to Philadelphia[edit]

As a free agent, on July 1, 2018, van Riemsdyk and the Philadelphia Flyers agreed to terms on a five-year, $35 million contract that would reunite him with the team that drafted him in 2007.[41] Upon his return to Philadelphia, van Riemsdyk chose to keep his jersey number as 25 which he wore with the Maple Leafs, despite playing as 21 during his first tenure with the Flyers.[42]

van Riemsdyk's return to Philadelphia was marred by early injury. After scoring an assist in the season opener against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, van Riemsdyk suffered a lower body injury against the Colorado Avalanche, and was expected to be out for five to six weeks.[43] He returned to play on November 15 for a match against the New Jersey Devils, after missing 16 total games.[44] On February 8, he was fined $5,000, the maximum allowed under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, for high-sticking defenseman Alec Martinez in a game against the Los Angeles Kings.[45] He scored his fourth career hat-trick in a 7–4 win over the Minnesota Wild on January 14, 2019,[46] and his fifth career hat trick in a 6–7 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 15, 2019.[47] Between January 10 and March 16, van Riemsdyk scored 18 goals in 28 games, second only to Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers.[48]

On March 4, 2020, the Flyers announced that van Riemsdyk had suffered a fractured hand in a game against the Capitals, and that Phantoms forward Joel Farabee would be called up in his place.[49] At the time of the injury, van Riemsdyk had 40 points for the season, including 19 goals.[50] The next week, the NHL season was suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[51]

In the pandemic-shortened 2020–21 NHL season, van Riemsdyk recorded 13 points in ten games, his best start since his rookie season.[52] He scored his 500th NHL career point on February 21, 2021 in the Flyers' 7–3 loss against the Boston Bruins at the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe game.[53]

International play[edit]

Junior[edit]

Van Riemsdyk's first international experience came when he played in the 2007 World Under-18 Championships (U18), in which the United States won the gold medal. In 2006–07, he scored 33 goals and 30 assists for the U.S. Under-18 National Team, and represented the United States at the 2007 World Junior Championships (WJC) in Sweden. He followed up his inaugural WJC by winning the scoring title at the 2007 U18 with five goals and seven assists.[54] He was named to the tournament all-star team, named the top forward and garnered MVP honors as the United States won silver, only losing against the Russians in the final.

Van Riemsdyk had a great showing at the 2008 WJC, where he led the entire tournament in scoring with five goals and six assists.[55] Despite his efforts, however, the U.S. did not medal, finishing fourth. Nonetheless, he was named to the WJC All-Star Team in 2008. He continued his strong international play with six goals and four assists at the 2009 WJC as the Americans finished in fifth.

Senior[edit]

Van Riemsdyk made his debut in senior international competition when he played for the United States at the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia, where Team USA finished eighth.[55] Van Riemsdyk scored one goal in the two games he played.[56]

On January 1, 2014, after van Riemsdyk had played in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic for Toronto against the Detroit Red Wings, he was announced as a member of the U.S. Olympic team for participation at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. However, the Americans finished fourth at the tournament, though in the six games van Riemsdyk played in, he had one goal and a tournament-leading six assists, also leading the tournament in plus-minus.[55][56]

On April 19, 2019, van Riemsdyk returned to the International stage for the first time in three years as he was selected to represent Team USA at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, held in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.[57]

Personal life[edit]

In 2017, van Riemsdyk was named the Maple Leafs' ambassador for the You Can Play program, aimed at increasing awareness and inclusivity for the LGBTQ community in ice hockey. He joined his brother Trevor, the You Can Play ambassador for the Blackhawks.[58] Teammate Connor Carrick acknowledged the importance of having a player as well-known as van Riemsdyk serving as a program ambassador, saying "He's James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's got (25) goals. Big guy, and he's out here saying, 'If you can play, you can play.' Maybe that carries weight on the playground if kids are picking on somebody."[59]

On November 24, 2012, van Riemsdyk played for Team Philly/New Jersey in Operation Hat Trick, a charity hockey game held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy.[60] That December, he went head-to-head with former Flyer Scott Hartnell to see who could raise more money for Hurricane Sandy relief.[61] In 2020, van Riemsdyk contributed to the PHL COVID-19 Fund, aimed at providing grants to organizations in the Philadelphia region that serve high-risk populations.[62]

van Riemsdyk, along with Hartnell, Ian Laperriere, and Matt Carle, made a cameo appearance in the 2012 Judd Apatow comedy film This Is 40.[63] In the film, two characters played by Megan Fox and Leslie Mann decide to unwind at a bar, where they flirt with members of the Flyers. van Riemsdyk said that he and his teammates were nervous about filming, and that they "didn't want to do anything stupid or mess anything up or embarrass ourselves too much".[64]

van Riemsdyk lives in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, and has a summer home in Minnesota,[65] where he plays in the Da Beauty recreational league in Edina.[66] van Riemsdyk married his longtime girlfriend Lauren Tjernlund on July 19, 2019.[67] The couple's first child, Scarlett Everly van Riemsdyk, was born on May 2, 2020.[68]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Christian Brothers Academy HS-NJ 30 36 24 60
2005–06 U.S. NTDP U17 USDP 18 8 5 13 36
2005–06 U.S. NTDP U18 USDP 14 1 3 4 6
2005–06 U.S. NTDP U18 USHL 37 18 11 29 26 2 0 0 0 2
2006–07 U.S. NTDP U18 NAHL 12 13 12 25 37
2006–07 U.S. NTDP U18 USDP 30 20 18 38 44
2007–08 University of New Hampshire HE 31 11 23 34 36
2008–09 University of New Hampshire HE 36 17 23 40 47
2008–09 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL 7 1 1 2 2 4 0 0 0 2
2009–10 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 78 15 20 35 30 21 3 3 6 4
2010–11 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 75 21 19 40 35 11 7 0 7 4
2011–12 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 43 11 13 24 24 7 1 1 2 4
2012–13 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 48 18 14 32 26 7 2 5 7 4
2013–14 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 80 30 31 61 50
2014–15 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 27 29 56 43
2015–16 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 40 14 15 29 6
2016–17 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 29 33 62 37 6 2 1 3 0
2017–18 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 81 36 18 54 30 7 3 1 4 4
2018–19 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 66 27 21 48 18
2019–20 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 66 19 21 40 8 12 2 0 2 2
NHL totals 741 247 234 481 307 71 20 11 31 22

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2006 United States U17 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 6 5 4 9 4
2006 United States WJC18 1st place, gold medalist(s) 6 0 1 1 2
2007 United States WJC 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 7 1 0 1 2
2007 United States WJC18 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 7 5 7 12 4
2008 United States WJC 4th 6 5 6 11 2
2009 United States WJC 5th 6 6 4 10 4
2011 United States WC 8th 2 1 0 1 2
2014 United States OG 4th 6 1 6 7 2
2016 United States WCH 7th 3 0 1 1 0
2019 United States WC 7th 8 2 3 5 0
Junior totals 38 22 22 44 18
Senior totals 19 4 10 14 4

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
College
Hockey East All-Rookie Team 2007–08
Hockey East Second All-Star Team 2008–09
International
WJC18 All-Star Team 2007 [69]
WJC18 Top Forward 2007
WJC18 MVP 2007
WJC All-Star Team 2008

References[edit]

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  69. ^ "Hockey Awards". Elite Prospects. Retrieved November 21, 2015.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Claude Giroux
Philadelphia Flyers' first round draft pick
2007
Succeeded by
Luca Sbisa