Seattle Kraken: Curious Case For James van Riemsdyk

Over the past two seasons, James van Riemsdyk has proven his value. He’ll likely be exposed in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, but does it makes sense for the Seattle Kraken to select him?

Upon entry to the NHL, the Seattle Kraken have every opportunity to construct a team that makes a playoff run in their inaugural season. A hallmark of dangerous hockey teams is quality forward depth. Ron Francis can either spend money to the cap limit to build a formidable roster or successfully build a sustainable roster with money leftover to spend. As the contract landscape shifts in 2020-2021, so will expansion draft plans.

At the moment, the Philadelphia Flyers will likely expose James van Riemsdyk. He’s under contract through the 2022-2023 season with the Flyers but is due $7mil per year. For Seattle to entertain the concept of selecting van Riemsdyk, they’ll have to plan to build a team around him as a highly paid veteran player. Already, that over-values his current role in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Would Love For Seattle to Draft JvR

If van Riemsdyk were to be selected by Seattle, they would effectively clear $7mil in cap space. The Flyers can do a lot with that kind of money. If the Kraken can build intelligently around that cost, van Riemsdyk is an asset. In 2018-2019, he placed fifth in team scoring in Philadelphia. This past season, he trailed Kevin Hayes by a point, finishing sixth in team scoring.

Seattle would obtain a more than competent player by drafting van Riemsdyk. He’s shown that he hasn’t lost a step. More recently, he scored a fastbreak goal in the Flyers’ exhibition scrimmage last night. His scoring tendencies haven’t faltered. A dual-threat forward, van Riemsdyk’s trademark is scoring in front of the crease.

But Would Seattle Select JvR?

He wouldn’t be the worst option to take from Philadelphia. At the cost of his contract, the Flyers may have to make an extra-curricular deal to ensure Seattle makes that decision. If Chuck Fletcher sent a draft pick along with van Riemsdyk, then Francis’ decision makes sense. He’s a proven commodity at the NHL level on two different teams. While on the Toronto Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk totaled a career-high in points.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the stars don’t align for a partnership between the Kraken and van Riemsdyk. There will be other younger players who are inexpensive and available. It will be a tough sell for the Flyers to convince Seattle to select van Riemsdyk, especially with Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Scott Laughton, or potentially, Nolan Patrick available.