Skip to main content

If Leafs trade van Riemsdyk, Nonis is making a huge mistake

Rumor has it the Leafs are shopping all but four of their players, and James van Riemsdyk is not on the untouchable list. Given his talent and contract, that's alarming news for Toronto fans if it's true.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

I'll start this post with a disclaimer: don't shoot the messenger. I'm not saying this story is true, only that the rumor exists. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos tweeted the following yesterday:
Wow. If that's true, it's extreme. Well, sort of. It makes sense for the Leafs to aggressively pursue change this off-season. They have a new team president in Brendan Shanahan and since, to the surprise of many, GM Dave Nonis and coach Randy Carlyle were retained, it's easy to read between the lines. If management isn't going anywhere, players are. Shopping captain Dion Phaneuf? Perfectly reasonable idea, especially with the entirety of his seven-year, $49-million contract remaining.
Trading up to try and draft Aaron Ekblad? Sure. Even the rumors about Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri aren't mind-boggling. Not that I'd rush to move either player, but each is as enigmatic as he is talented, so moving one for a useful return wouldn't be sacrilege. If Kypreos' report is true word for word, however, I draw the line at James van Riemsdyk. If Toronto is actively shopping every player except Jonathan Bernier, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Morgan Rielly, deductive reasoning tells us JVR is on the block. Not just available, but
actively being shopped. Whoa, daddy. And since his modified no-trade clause
doesn't activate until 2016-17, there's nothing he can do about it.
Everything about the 2012 trade that netted JVR for Luke Schenn has been a coup for Toronto. Van Riemsdyk has displayed great chemistry with Kessel and he's learned to use his big frame as a weapon in tight spaces around the opposing goal. He's fresh off a 30-goal season and his 18 goals in lockout-shortened 2012-13 pro-rated to 31. He's 25 years old, with the pedigree to keep improving, as he was the No. 2 overall pick in 2007. And with four years left at a $4.25-million cap hit, van Riemsdyk is one of the NHL's best bargains. Even if the Leafs are rebuilding, this is just the kind of cap-friendly deal you want to build around. For some perspective, here are the 2014-15 cap hits of every other 30-goal scorer in the NHL this season, excluding restricted free agent Ryan Johansen and unrestricted free agent Jarome Iginla:

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

  1. Alex Ovechkin, $9.54 million
  2. Sidney Crosby, $8.70 million
  3. Corey Perry, $8.63 million
  4. Ryan Getzlaf, $8.25 million
  5. Phil Kessel, $8.00 million
  6. Patrick Marleau, $6.67 million
  7. Patrice Bergeron, $6.50 million
  8. Joe Pavelski, $6.00 million
  9. Patrick Sharp, $5.90 million
  10. Alexander Steen, $5.80 million
  11. Tyler Seguin, $5.75 million
  12. Jeff Skinner, $5.73 million
  13. Martin St-Louis, $5.63 million
  14. Jason Pominville, $5.60 million
  15. Marian Hossa, $5.28 million
  16. Jamie Benn, $5.25 million
  17. Max Pacioretty, $4.50 million
  18. James van Riemsdyk, $4.25 million
  19. Chris Kunitz, $3.85 million

Methinks JVR gives the Leafs good bang for their buck through 2017-18. This is the type of contract and player you dream of acquiring, not trading away. It's thus difficult to believe Toronto is shopping him. If so, Nonis needs an intervention.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin


Cam Talbot and Mitch Marner

The Ottawa Senators Face an Anxious Start with Cam Talbot's Injury

Cam Talbot was expected to be the new starting goaltender for the Ottawa Senators. But after suffering a broken rib, it's up to Anton Forsberg to carry the load.

Hockey Canada

What You Need To Know After Hockey Canada's Hearing From Oct. 4

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage questioned the former chair and current interim chair of Hockey Canada's board of directors about aspects of its leadership and handling of sexual assault cases.

Marc-Andre Fleury

Stat Pack: Who’s Hot And Who's Not In The 2022 NHL Pre-Season?

Who's impressing or disappointing the most in the NHL's pre-season? What does it mean with the small sample sizes? Carol Schram takes a look.