Flyers make leap of faith with JVR's extension

Flyers make leap of faith with JVR's extension
August 30, 2011, 4:34 pm
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Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk, who had a breakout sophomore year with the Flyers last season with 21 goals, got a substantial contract extension on Tuesday.

The extension is for six years and worth 25.5 million with an annual cap hit of 4.5 million. JVR would have been a restricted free agent after the 2011-12 season.

Its a hefty raise the 22-year-old earned 1.654 million last season but shows the Flyers are making a leap of faith that JVR will become perhaps the next John LeClair. His numbers after two NHL seasons are actually better than LeClairs were.

LeClair had 38 goals and 65 points after two full NHL seasons. JVR has 37 goals and 75 points.

That said, its asking a lot to think JVR might become a 50-goal scorer. Yet, 30, 40 goals are well within reach.

I couldnt be happier, obviously, van Riemsdyk said during a conference call. Over the two years Ive been here, and even prior to that when I was with the organization, Ive seen how well they treat their players and how highly everyone around it talks about it.

Even before I signed, Jim Dowd was actually telling me how lucky I was to be coming to the Flyers and how well they treat their players, and Ive seen that first-hand. When these talks of an extension started to come up, that was in the back of my mind, and I knew this was the place I really wanted to be.

Van Riemsdyk is expected to open training camp on Sept. 17 on a line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

Whats interesting here is that JVR will earn more money than Giroux in 2012-13. Giroux was the Flyers leading scorer last season with 76 points. Giroux also led the team in playoff scoring with one goal and 11 assists -- 12 points.

He has two years left on his current deal at 3.75 million each.

Van Riemsdyk had seven goals and seven points in the playoffs, tied for third-highest on the club.

So why does JVR rate a bigger salary? It appears as though the Flyers gave JVR a boost since he was willing to forfeit unrestricted free agency at age 27.

His new deal carries him two years past unrestricted free agency. The price for that waiver appears to be more money, which is common in the NHL. He will be 29 when the deal ends. There is a modified no-trade clause within the deal.

Giroux, of course, will be line for a larger contract when his deal is done, so things should even out between the two players.

JVRs extension had been discussed for months between general manager Paul Holmgren and agent Alex Schall.

Given all the changes on the Flyers roster a minimum of seven new faces will be on the opening day roster JVR said team success over the next several years was paramount to him.

Thats something Ive always been all about, van Riemsdyk said. I went through that, talking about that with my agent. Obviously, you want to make a good living doing what you love to do, but at the same time you want to be in a great place like Philadelphia that wants you to be here, and not only that but be a part of a great team.

Obviously, with the salary cap, there are some constraints on what teams can do. I think its a very fair deal for both sides and Im happy to be committed here for the next six years.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net