James Van Riemsdyk is like the Robin to Phil Kessel’s Batman, so look for Team USA to take advantage of the chemistry between these two Toronto players in Sochi.
Van Riemsdyk is from Middletown, NJ, not exactly a hub of hockey. However, he was able to catch the attention of the U.S. Under 18 team in 2005-06, and he played for two seasons, putting up decent numbers and eventually going to college to play for the University of New Hampshire.
After one season at New Hampshire, he was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers (after Patrick Kane but before Kyle Turris — sounds about right). He then played the 2008-09 season with New Hampshire and seven games with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL.
His rookie year, 2009-10, was solid — he posted 15 goals and 35 points. He continued to produce in the 40 point, 20 goal range, except for an injury shortened 2011-12 season (11 goals, 24 points in 43 games).
Van Riemsdyk was then traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Luke Schenn, a decent defenseman who was much maligned in Toronto and has produced little offense in Philadelphia since. I would certainly say it’s fair to call this trade one-sided at this point.
Van Riemsdyk has shown excellent hands and poise in a breakout year this season that may see him hit 30 goals. He will certainly be an asset for Team USA and is excellent on the PP. He put up 18 goals in the 48 game season last year, and has shown himself to be an excellent point producer.
He will be essential to the success of Team USA in Sochi this year. He and Kessel should be able to make sure that the Americans do not hit a serious scoring drought.