James van Riemsdyk was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason in a deal that brought the Philadelphia Flyers a young, maligned defenseman in Luke Schenn. While the move reunited Schenn with his brother, trading James van Riemsdyk was a risky and confusing move. While the Philadelphia Flyers’ greatest weakness last season was certainly defense, Luke Schenn has done little to prove he is a capable NHL defenseman. What’s more, James van Riemsdyk, though frequently injured, could have been a top-line forward with the Flyers this year if healthy. At the end of a disappointing offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers may miss JVR more than we initially thought.
The 2012 offseason has been an endless string of missed opportunities for the Philadelphia Flyers. They missed out on Shea Weber when the Nashville Predators matched a front-loaded offer sheet. Weber was a restricted free agency plan B for the Flyers, who pursued the Preds’ top defenseman only after Ryan Suter and Zach Parise chose Minnesota over Philly. Jaromir Jagr left via free agency and the offense that carried thier shakey defense took another hit. After four top-players opted not to play in Philadelphia, losing a player of the caliber James van Riemsdyk could loom large in 2012-13. The defense is still in shambles with Chris Pronger injured and Andrej Meszaros out indefinitely, but now the offense looks relatively mediocre as well.