All I keep hearing is ‘Who Can Replace JVR If He is Traded?’
First of all what might the return be on the 28 year old, Middletown New Jersey native, James van Riemsdyk? If other similar UFA asking prices are taken into consideration it would be a 1st round pick, a high level prospect, and another player. Will that actually happen? No idea.
But if that is the return the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for on this UFA, does it make sense, and who can replace him now and in almost more importantly in the future.
Let us start with Andreas Johnsson. A player that is already in our organization with the Toronto Marlies. 23 years old he stands in a 5’10 and weights 190 lbs. He has the ability to score, and to distribute the puck AND he is aware in his own end. Did I mention he is fast? Yeah….he can fly.
With 23 goals and 23 assists so far in the Marlies season (47 games) and with back to back 20 goal campaigns, the young left winger can certainly provide offense AND defensive awareness to the Maple Leafs, especially in third line minutes. If this is the replacement for JVR in the future, does it make sense to do it now so the kid has time to acclimatize?
Patrick Maroon, the Edmonton Oilers are looking to move this 29 year old who has had a solid season on a team that is terrible. God awful. With 14 goals and 16 assists, and trending down the more his name is mentioned in trade rumours this is a fill in now type of player if the Leafs cannot wait for youth to step up. Had 8 points in 13 playoffs games for Edmonton last year, so we know he can elevate his game when required. And in his NHL career has 26 pts (12 g 14a) in 42 playoffs games. Asking price is a young NHL ready forward, pretty sure we have a few of those around the organization.
Rick Nash. Is he an upgrade on JVR? Plus he prefers to play the right side of the rink but is a left handed shot. Asking price will be high, so if you trade JVR for assets but used similar assets for Nash, then what is the point? Nash is 33 years old and has 18 goals and 10 assists this season. To me, this isn’t the move I make. Shuffling for an older deck chair.
Carl Grundstrom aka the ‘Swedish Wrecking Ball’. After a knee surgery earlier this year, the young Swedish forward has regained his form that he had prior to his injury. Grundstrom is a young player at just 20 years old, but the Leafs LOVED his Training Camp last fall. As Head Coach Mike Babcock said at the time “He Looks like a hockey player to me…”
That is about as high of a compliment as you will hear as a Rookie at Camp.
The native of Umea Sweden , currently has 11 goals and 5 assists in his 28 games this season with Frolunda. During the Marlies playoffs run last year he had 3 goals and 1 assists in 6 games but needed work on his defensive reliability. I watched him as much as I could and he never pulled up on finishing a check. Not one time. Leafs could use a bit of this.
Josh Leivo of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes I am aware he is a right shot. Can he play the Left side? He is on your team. He is rotting in the press box. Why not try him out? 10 goals and 11 assists in his 53 game NHL career. This 24 year old UNDER CONTRACT player has shown the ability to score when given a chance, so maybe just maybe he can stand in front of the net similar to that in which JVR does it? I do understand it is a lot to ask him to play his off side but at this point I am sure he is ready to skate thru a wall if requested to do so by Coach Babcock.
Also in house is Matt Martin. Whoa !! Wait a second, surely you are not suggesting that Matt Martin can replace JVR? Nope. I am suggesting that it would be possible to move Leo Komarov up the lineup to get more (and effective) minutes with Tyler Bozak and Connor Brown and allow Martin to resume his spot on the 4th line. Is this optimal? I do not believe so, but if you get an offer you cannot refuse on JVR it is an option.
Further down that yellow brick road is the emerging large framed left winger, Yegor Korshkov. Drafted 31st overall in 2016 and standing in a 6’4 this maybe the replacement for van Riemsdyk the Leafs have in mind. With 8 goals and 17 assists in 51 games in the KHL, this is truly a project in the making. Can he step up now? I seriously doubt that but at 21 he will not be the youngest player on the Maple Leafs roster, but would probably need an extended run with the Marlies before he is truly a candidate for anything.
Other names with the Marlies include Kerby Rychel, Mason Marchment (without NHL contract currently), Colin Greening, and Dmytro Timashov.
So those are the obvious and not so obvious choices in terms of replacements for James van Riemsdyk and his 25 goals and 13 apples thus far in the 2017-18 NHL Season as we head into the Playoffs and into the future. Could there be other names out there? Sure, but my guess is the Leafs will focus on Center depth and an additions to the blueline.
Is it worth moving him for a return on investment? Or call him a rental player for this playoffs run and let him walk after the NHL Playoffs conclude?
What says you my fellow Leafs fans……?