2010 Will Be JVR’s Season

First off, I apologize for being MIA this past weekend.  I was away, now I’m back.  Now, on to some reading material:

When James van Riemsdyk made the Flyers roster out of Training Camp last season, there was an understandable excitement around the news. van Riemsdyk, the 2007 NHL Entry Draft’s number two overall pick behind Patrick Kane, had spent the previous two seasons at the University of New Hampshire honing his skills before make the leap to professional hockey. Now, as a member of the Flyers, van Riemsdyk was looking to make the jump to the pros smoothly.

2010 could bring big things for van Riemsdyk

Unfortunately for JVR, that did not happen.

Fans, coaches, and management alike were left scratching their heads at what seemed to be a player with a ton of potential, but just with the inability to make ends meet and be consistent on the ice. Of course, JVR’s rookie season wasn’t horrible by any means, and the 21-year-old was among the league leaders in rookie scoring, as well as getting some outside consideration for Rookie of the Year. van Riemsdyk finished the 2009-2010 season with totals of 15 goals, 20 assists, and 35 points while also being -1 overall. As I said, not bad, but given what the pick ahead of him – Patrick Kane – was able to accomplish in his first season in the National Hockey League, I think that the organization and fan base may have expected a little more from him.

Fast forward to the 2010-2011 preseason and it’s already very apparent that we are seeing a different James van Riemsdyk. 10+ more pounds of muscle added to his already imposing 6’3” frame makes JVR suddenly a very intimidating presence out on the ice. Combine the size and brute strength with the skill we know he possesses on top of his world-class speed, and there’s reason to believe that JVR will not only avoid a Sophomore slump this season, but may put up even better numbers than we saw last year. van Riemsdyk has yet to register a point in the preseason, but, to me, that’s irrelevant. What I’ve seen from JVR tells me everything I need to know about how he will perform this season. He’s hustling to every loose puck, he’s winning the battles in the corners, and he hasn’t been reluctant in the least bit to take the body on a consistent basis.

It’s unclear at this point what line the Flyers will have JVR on when the regular season begins in Pittsburgh. What is clear, however, is that whoever he plays with will reap the benefits of playing alongside a rebuilt, retooled, and suddenly experienced power forward who is going to have a breakout season in 2010.

Follow JVR on Twitter: @JVReemer21

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