Rumour: James van Riemsdyk Wants to Stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 20: Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James Van Riemsdyk (25) celebrates his goal during the first period of an NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 20, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 20: Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James Van Riemsdyk (25) celebrates his goal during the first period of an NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 20, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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James van Riemsdyk is still a Toronto Maple Leaf

Let’s just remember that for a minute. The Toronto Maple Leafs still have the rights to James van Riemsdyk until noon on July 1st, 2018. After hitting a career high in Goals this season and Points last season, van Riemsdyk is due for a pay increase in Free Agency this off-season. While many thought with his late season resurgence was van Riemsdyk playing himself out of Toronto, that may not be the case.

Rumours  were published today by Eklund on Hockeyuzz.com claiming that ‘sources’ have said that van Riemsdyk “may take less because he REALLY wants to stay with Toronto“.  However the poster follows up the quote with “Things are changing almost every day…“. The band Toto has a song that isn’t ‘Africa‘ and it goes like this; “Let’s live for today, tomorrow may never come“. Assuming the quote is in fact true, lets take a look at what James van Riemsdyk could stand to make if he decided to stay in Toronto.

First we need to figure out what defines James van Riemsdyk. Over the past six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk has played in over 95% of the games in a season in five seasons. The season where he was out for 42 games was coincidentally the season where the Toronto Maple Leafs finished last. All of those seasons he averaged above 2 points every three games for an average of 0.712 Points per Game. Unfortunately this doesn’t bode well for the Toronto Maple Leafs as players who score like JVR get paid a lot of money, usually for a very long time.

What does this mean for the Toronto Maple Leafs

While Evander Kane earned himself a $7M contract with the San Jose Sharks this season, it does not help the Toronto Maple Leafs. James van Riemsdyk is poised to earn roughly that, however the source above claims that he could take less to stay in Toronto. But how much is ‘Less’? Assuming van Riemsdyk takes a discount, I can not with good conscience say he will make less than $6M. Personally I think it would be closer to $6.5M. In order to stay with the Leafs, he’d probably need to be willing to sign for less than that.

I played around with the ‘Armchair GM‘ tool on CapFriendly on what the Toronto Maple Leafs would look like with a $6.5M van Riemsdyk contract. If they traded Martin, signed Nylander at $7M and had a 4th line consisting of Johnsson, Moore, Leivo, they would only have $17M left to spend. This may work for the upcoming season when Mattews and Marner are still cheap, but it would hurt the Leafs in the future when they’d likely be too top heavy and struggle to fill out a quality roster while staying under the caprner.

Conclusion

If JVR wanted to take a discount to stay with the team he’s grown up with, the Leafs would be laughing all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Given the fact that he’s been underpaid most of his career, this seems unlikely, but then again, he’s already got more money than he’ll ever need. Maybe some players prioritize certain things above money.  It’s not impossible.  The Leafs are on track to be one of the best teams in the NHL for years to come, so staying in Toronto has its benefits.  And maybe he looks at Lucic and thinks “I don’t wanna be that guy.”  So if you squint hard enough, you can almost convince yourself JVR will stay.   I wouldn’t put money on it, but it’s a nice thought.

Next: 2018 Mock Draft Part 2

Let me know what you think in the comments down below. Whether it’s about James Van Riemsdyk, the article, my writing, anything. Also if you want, follow me on Twitter @ChrisInTheSix!