After coming off his third career hat trick, James van Riemsdyk stayed hot and set a new career-high in goals last night. The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent this summer, JVR has turned into arguably the best player in front of the net. His ability to deflect and tip pucks is so valuable that many teams would love to have him. To get a better sense of his value, let’s take a look at some of the other established forwards who play similar to van Riemsdyk.
This list is sorted by cap hit and we can see JVR is worth more than five million dollars. He has scored the most goals and is tied for second with 18 power play points. This is the area of his game that will get him paid. He also doesn’t take that many penalties so he doesn’t hurt your team, but also doesn’t bring the sandpaper type of game like other names on this list. However, his ice time is very low and ranks last out of all these players. I believe he’d have more points if he was getting a little more ice time.
Last year, JVR scored 29 goals and had 62 points while playing 15:53 per game. Only 26 players scored more and only 32 had more points. Compare that to this year, only 10 players have scored more while 91 have tallied more points than him. Cleary the league is tighter defensively, but he will get his goals and has shown to be a consistant scorer. A big reason for the difference in points is because of Mitch Marner. Last year he took the league by storm and played extremely well with JVR and Tyler Bozak, but this year the league adjusted. Mike Babcock decided to take off Marner from the line and now the Leafs have three scoring lines. All is well except for Auston Matthews and Frederik Andersen, but that’s another story.
It’s tough to score these days, but James van Riemsdyk is one of the best at finding the back of the net. Is he worth a Milan Lucic type of contract with a six million dollar cap hit? I would say he is worth that type of contract. With better linemates he is a 60-point player and a 60-point player who can score 30 goals is valuable, especially if only a handful of players are scoring more. Simply put, he has honed his craft and is even getting better in front of the net. He will be a great addition to any team really. If the Leafs can somehow find a way to keep him, that would make Leaf fans happy. If not, how they’ll replace a consistent 30-goal scorer will be a tougher issue.