Flyers Midseason Report Card: James van Riemsdyk has had a tremendous start to the season

James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

If I had told you at the beginning of the season that James van Riemsdyk would be the Flyers best player, you probably would have laughed in my face and told me to leave. But here is the thing, he has been just that. In a season mired with ups and downs, JVR has been one of the bright spots this season.  Let’s breakdown how he’s been so far:

(All stats via

Numbers on the season: 

11G, 16A, 27P, 23GP

Even Strength Numbers:

4G, 15A

Power Play Numbers:

7G, 1A

Fancy Stat spotlight:

Mid-Season CorsiFor%: 53.7 (Corsi Stat primer: Anything above 50% means the Flyers controlled the puck more when JVR was on the ice than when he wasn’t)

The Good:  In short- basically everything.  After what seemed like a pretty marginal 19-20 season by JVR’s standards, where he only scored 19 goals and was maligned on the 3rd line, his 20-21 season has been just the opposite. In what feels like a career season so far, JVR is over a point per game with 27 points in 23 games, which is good for the most by any Flyer this year.

He is tied for first on the team for the most goals scored with 21-year-old sensation Joel Farabee who also, coincidentally, plays on his line. Most of his damage comes on the power play with his team-leading seven power-play goals.  For reference, who is the next best?  Shayne Gostisbehere, Kevin Hayes, and Travis Konecny all have 2 PPG’s each.  Notice a trend here?  JVR is playing a such a level that he basically set himself apart (at least statistically) from the rest of the pack.

Not only has he been tearing it up on the score sheet, but he has also seemed to be more physically engaged as well – leveraging his large size to hit his opponents more often and being a menace in front of the opposing teams net where he has become the league leader in deflection goals.

The Bad:  Honestly it’s tough to find negatives about JVR’s game right now without seeming to be needlessly nit-picky, but there could be evidence that JVR’s hot start has somewhat cooled. If we break down JVR’s performance by month we can see a sharp drop in performance:

(Stats Via CBS Sports)

January: 13 points in 10 games

February: 12 points in 8 games

March: 2 points in 5 games

For reference, before the March 9th game against the Sabres, he had gone four games without having a goal. Is it the end of the world? Not at the moment. Like I said, to find a flaw in JVR’s game right now is hard to do, but historically he has been a streaky player, so there is a cause for concern there.

JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK. A+. . F. Philadelphia Flyers

It’s hard not to view James van Riemsdyk as anything but sensational this year. The Flyers season, as well as their on-ice play, has been up and down, but JVR’s strong play seems to be one of the only constants.

He has been their best player in the first half of the year and at age 31 no less. After signing for a large amount of money with the Flyers, he seems to not only be living up to the contract this year but crushing expectations.