Tonight will be the first time the Toronto Maple Leafs welcome James Van Riemsdyk back to the place where he spent the past 6 seasons of his NHL career.
There isn’t much that can be said about JVR that hasn’t been said already. He is a talented goal scorer that landed in Toronto during one of their poorest stretches in history. A consistent goal scorer that was always dangerous around the net, JVR was always a threat to score. It seemed that he always brought a positive attitude with him, and that couldn’t have been easy during some of the toughest times we’ve seen as Leafs fans, but he soldiered on and we should thank him for that.
And thank him they will with a video tribute scheduled to play tonight. Much like they did for Tyler Bozak and Dion Phaneuf, Leafs brass will honour a departed player tonight. Maybe they’re over-doing it on the tributes, maybe not. But with no awards, titles, or real accomplishments to their name, Bozak, Phaneuf, and now Van Riemsdyk will all be thanked during their returning games. Colour me unimpressed.
Mandatory note on the Nylander situation.
Philly has been pegged as a dark horse to land the talented winger/centre if he is traded. I think he re-signs, but names to watch might be Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, and Travis Konecny (among others). Also, for rental purposes down the road (and having nothing to do with Willy), keep an eye on Wayne Simmonds to see if you think he’d be a fit at the deadline.
No lineup changes tonight outside of Garret Sparks starting in lieu of Frederik Andersen. Sparks was terrific in his last game versus the Anaheim Ducks. He’s alternated between terrible and terrific starts so far this year. If that trend continues tonight would be the scheduled bad start. Lets hope he can buck the trend and turn in a solid effort.
Lets hope Morgan Rielly can have a bounce back game as well. Ouch, that was rough to watch last night.
Mike Babcock confirms Garret Sparks will start tonight for #Leafs. No other lineup changes vs. Flyers.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) November 24, 2018
My prediction: 2-1 Leafs in OT
GO LEAFS GO!!