In a surprisingly proactive move, the Philadelphia Flyers have signed winger James van Riemsdyk to a six-year contract extension.
The move comes in a summer when the Flyers have let go of a pair of marquee names, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, as well as Kris Versteeg in order to clear enough cap space for new goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
The total dollars for the contract for van Riemsdyk total about $25.5 million, for the 22-year-old forward who appears to be coming into his own as a big time player for Philadelphia.
JvR expressed his excitement over the new deal on his Twitter account:
The deal comes as a bit of a surprise as van Riemsdyk hadn’t been overly impressive to start with the Flyers, given that he didn’t break into a full-time role with the team until the 2009-10 season. He was a second overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, behind Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.
There’s little doubt that the biggest factor playing into JvR’s extension was his postseason performance from this year. He notched seven goals in 11 total games for the Flyers in last year’s playoffs, as well as 27 hits. He certainly showed that he has the chops to be the face of the franchise at some point, especially with the departure of Richards and Carter.
In his two full seasons with the Flyers, van Riemsdyk has combined for 75 points. His point total jumped from 35 to 40, but his goal output rose from 15 to 21 in 2010-11.
The six-year deal comes a summer before JvR was set to become a restricted free agent. A new deal ensures that he will be around until at least through the 2017-18 season. Of course, Philly fans thought that Mike Richards would be around for at least most of his 12-year deal, too.