Yesterday the NHL World came to a halt as the 2011-12 trade deadline drew nearer to its 3:00pm ET closing. Players from Clubs across the League were told to keep their cellphones by them "just in case". You hear each of them tell you they're not concerned. They have a job to do, and being traded is out of their control. Many took to the ice for practice while others sat and watched TSN's Trade Centre LIVE from their couches.
It was a nerve racking day that ultimately ended in a single digit amount of trades. This was the first it's happened since the 1992-93 season.
Amongst the many skaters speculated to being dealt was our own James van Riemsdyk. For many recent moons, James had been rumored to be sniffed out by teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens, and - I'm sure - many others. But as yesterday's clock grew past the day's fifteenth hour, JVR remained a part of the orange & black.
For awhile now, fans had naturally become armchair general managers. You can certainly piece me in the same category. I had #21 in a handful of wildly generated packages that included gaining defensive support in return. It wasn't so much that I wanted to see JVR off this team, because believe me....I did not.
It was a question of what we could get in exchange for James' high upside, size, youth and offensive ability. There were a number of Philadelphia brethren who had lost their patience with the 22yr old forward. He's been injured for a large part of the season, scratched or not.
No one's disagreeing that James hasn't been producing like we'd expect a 2nd Overall Draft Pick would this year. We all anxiously waited for the JVR from the Boston series to show up. As time grew on, the anxiety and excitement transitioned to frustration and restlessness.
And I don't need to tell you how ridiculous we Flyers fans can become once we're restless.
Nevertheless, JVR is still a Broad Street Bully. Yesterday Paul Holmgren had received a large volume of offers throughout the remaining deadline hours. He (obviously) declined them all.
You figure since James is in such high demand, that's a big enough sign you have what everyone else wants. Why give that up? Screw the frustrated fanbase and JVR's down-year. This kid is going to become a super star!
That is a load of confidence Holmgren has for van Riemsdyk. And in turn, it should boost JVR's fortitude. Our war room is about as shy trading away one of its big names as Angelina Jolie is to turning her home into It's a Small World from Disney. So you can imagine how on-edge James was all day yesterday.
Holmgren shooting each and every proposal out of the sky like clay pigeons should present quite the opportunity in front of James. As if it were one enormous pat on the ass a coach gives his player before taking the grid iron.
It's a, "We believe in you, now get out there and don't make me regret it," kind of wakeup call.
Not that van Riemsdyk wasn't showing flashes of his expected hockey brilliance at all this season. You can take a look at the play he developed against the Jets in the final 10-seconds of the 3rd period a week ago --
James has been projected to be the "complete talent". A big forward who uses every ounce of his giant frame to create plays, chances and opportunities. When he's not potting the puck, his inventive awareness proves a huge benefit to his surrounding comrades.
We've seen it before. Holmgren knows we'll see it again, and again, and again, and again.
JVR....the time's yours.
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