It’s a new chapter for James van Riemsdyk, so just because he’s back in the Orange and Black, it’s not going to be exactly the same as it was all those years ago when the former second overall pick made his debut. Most notably, the new chapter brings on a new number.
For the last few seasons in Toronto, van Riemsdyk wore No. 25, and he’s brought that number to Philadelphia for his second stay with the Flyers.
“It’s kind of a new time, a new change, new challenge, so I wanted to have something to reflect that,” van Riemsdyk said. “Obviously I switched in Toronto so I’m just going to continue on with that. There was no jockeying for that.”
“It’s an exciting time for us as an organization welcoming James back,” GM Ron Hextall said. “Goal scoring is at a premium in the league and we couldn’t be more excited to have a top goal scorer back in the organization.”
JVR was unceremoniously shipped off to Toronto six years ago in a trade that brought Luke Schenn to the Flyers. Even with just three seasons of play in Philadelphia, van Riemsdyk always remembered the core values of the Flyers franchise and the importance of success that was part of the organization Ed Snider built.
“The thing about the Flyers, the first thing I noticed from when I was drafted here, they will do whatever it takes to win,” van Riemsdyk said. “That’s every resource you could possibly want or need to hopefully find an edge. That’s the way it’s been here forever. You want to be in a situation like that where every year, no matter what it is, we’re going to do what it takes to find a way to win.
“Everything about the fit here seemed to be great. Lots of talented players to play with, a lot of good youth on the way which is exciting.”
It’s not certain where van Riemsdyk fits into the lineup exactly, but he’s clearly been brought in to be a top six upgrade to provide additional scoring. For JVR, it doesn’t matter who his linemates are, he’s excited for the talent the team has built over the years.
“I think the great thing is there’s lots of great options, there’s lots of talented players,” van Riemsdyk said. “For me, there’s lots of good right-shot players. Being a lefty, it’s fun to play with right-shot players. I think that chemistry comes a little more naturally.”
GM Ron Hextall said that the team is working on a contract for defenseman Robert Hagg, the last of the restricted free agents left to be signed. Hagg has a qualifying offer on the table that he can still accept, but the Flyers are working on a two-year deal for the defenseman. Hextall said he was confident a deal would be done by the end of the month.
Hextall also noted that the Flyers are likely done adding anything from within the free-agent market or by the way of trades. The Flyers signed van Riemsdyk on July 1 when free agency opened and added defenseman Christian Folin on July 5.