Toronto Maple Leafs: Should They Trade James Van Riemsdyk?

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Robb Ellis

Absolutely – if the right deal comes along.

JVR is a guy that seems to have escaped the vigorous rumor mill that comes with the territory for an organization in the early stages of a “scorched earth” rebuild. It’s important to remember that nobody is untouchable, including Morgan Reily, during this time of change.

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On the positive side, Van Riemsdyk is still young at 26 and has a definite offensive upside. He lead the team in goals in 2014/15 with 27 and his 75 in the past 3 seasons are second only to Phil Kessel. He’s big, and unlike Kessel, goes to the “dirty areas” to score most of his goals. The Leafs have him locked up for another three seasons at a cap hit of only $4,250,000 making him a bargain compared to other offensive wingers with similar production.

On the other hand, JVR is a “streaky” player who scores in bunches and seems to disappear for long periods of time. His plus minus was a dreadful minus-33, and along with Kessel and Tyler Bozak, the Leafs top line combined for a mind-boggling minus-101. With all the criticism falling on Kessel’s bad season, Van Riemsdyk himself look just as disinterested at times, leaving me to sometimes wonder about his drive.

Obviously, I’m not in the dressing room so I can’t claim to know what kind of character Van Riemsdyk brings to the Leafs but there’s nothing to indicate that he’s a disruptive personality. I believe that he is in the plans for Shanahan and Babcock’s rebuild.

With that being said, EVERYBODY on this roster is available – for the right price.

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