With the second overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers select James van Riemsdyk from the US National Team Development Program. After finishing dead last in 2006-2007, we were compensated by getting the 2nd overall pick. First went to Chicago and they took Patrick Kane, and we know how that’s going (lucky bastards). Kane played for the ‘Hawks right away, while we waited. We waited for him to play in college two years, before his majesty finally decided to grace us with his presence. Finally, FINALLY, last year he made his Flyers debut. His rookie results: eh, ok.
He gave us 35 points, which is half of what Kane has done. After winning Rookie of the Month last November, he pretty much disappeared. This year, he’s given us a whopping 4 assists. The Flyers promised us that he bulked up, that his strength will lead to more offense, better endurance, and just a better product overall. Does he forecheck a bit more effectively? Yes. Is that what we want out of a 2nd overall pick? HELL NO!
And it’s a bit early in his career, but when you look at the guy taken one spot ahead, there’s no comparison. JVR looks like a bust right now. You can’t argue experience: Kane came into the league at a younger age, on a worse team, and made an immediate impact. JVR was coddled, given time to get ready, and is not producing anywhere near the level that we need and expect from him. So if he’s a bust, and the brass knows it, now is the best time to move him. I’m sure there are a few GM’s around the league that scouted him, and believe that they can get more out of him. So, what is it that we need most? I’d look for another winger that’s looking for a change of scenery.
How about…Scottie Upshall?. He’s done well in Phoenix, he was a popular guy here, and they put up similar numbers. The difference to me is that Upshall plays with more energy, you see him getting more involved out there. And while he’s 6 years older, he might end up staying in the league longer than JVR anyway. Then again, maybe the threat of a trade will light a fire under his ass and he’ll start playing like he should.
Chances are, the Flyers will look back at players like Fedotenko, Zubrus and Prospal, and might give JVR a bit more time to develop rather than trading him too early. Let’s just hope they figure something out, before it’s too late.
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