James van Riemsdyk
Born May 4, 1989 (age 22) in Middleton Township, New Jersey, USA
Left winger for the Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers are playing the Maple Leafs tonight, so I thought I’d profile one of their boys. James played peewee hockey with the Brick Hockey Club and went to Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft but left after his sophomore year to enter the National Team Development Program in Michigan. He stayed there till the 2007 draft, when he was picked second overall behind Patrick Kane – that happened to be the first time American boys were picked #1 and #2 in the same draft.
Instead of heading straight to the NHL like Kaner did, James went to the University of New Hampshire, averaging about a point a game in his freshman year (34 points in 31 games). He didn’t finish out his sophomore year because he gave up with college career to sign with the Flyers on April 1, 2009 and finished out the season with the Philadelphia Phantoms on an entry-level contract. He was all set to play for the Phantoms that fall, but his performance in the preseason caught the Flyers’ attention and gained him a spot on the roster and a third line with Claude Giroux. He earned his first point assisting Mike Richards on a power play goal against the Carolina Hurricanes, and he scored his first goal against Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers on October 24, 2009.
In the 2010 playoffs, James scored his first playoff goal and helped the Flyers not only win that crucial game against the Boston Bruins but the Eastern Conference finals (we know who won the Cup that year, don’t we?). This past season, he not only scored a Gordie Howe hat trick against the Tampa bay Lightning, but he also scored a natural hat trick against the New York Islanders – that night was made sweeter because he did that with his mom and other relatives watching from the stands. He ended the regular season with 21 goals and 19 assists in 75 games and finished the postseason with 70 shots, third in the entire posteason behind Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler, and had the most shots per game.
James recently signed a six-year contract extension with the Flyers, which he announced on Twitter. Here’s to six more years of success for JVR!