I remember a time when we received the news from newspapers. These existed in the before time, and were large, paper-based apparatuses that used words and pictures to relay the most important events of the day. In this primitive era, the people who reported on the news would actually have to seek out those who made the news. We called this little cat and mouse game “reporting.”
Now the newsmakers just tell us when they’ve done something notable. Like, say, James Van Riemsdyk.
JVR doesn’t have the reporting expertise to provide us with the financial details of his own contract. For that we turn to the real journalists, and David Isaac of Philly Sports Daily reports that it’s worth $25.5 million. That puts the annual cap hit at $4.25 million, and it vaults the Flyers back into being one of the most cap crunched teams in the league.
Aside from the two teams in the red that need to shave the fat before this season (Buffalo and Washington), the Flyers now have the lowest cap room, with only $175,239 separating general manager Paul Holmgren from that fine salary line. Securing a 22-year-old player who’s quickly blossoming and fulfilling his potential with 36 goals and 75 points over just two NHL seasons is a clear priority, especially when the franchise invested a second overall pick in van Riemsdyk four years ago.
But van Riemsdyk was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, and then become a restricted free agent next summer. The future is bright for JVR, but during his brief time in the show he still hasn’t registered elite numbers, only barely reaching the 40-point plateau this year. Yet now his yearly value against the cap is higher than San Jose’s Joe Pavelski, another young forward who’s produced similar numbers, but has been given more years to prove his consistency and value. Pavelski had 66 points last year to van Riemsdyk’s 40.
In time that could quickly be a useless concern, with van Riemsdyk proving his value in a similar fashion. But Holmgren held all the leverage over his financial future with van Riemsdyk entering an RFA season. It’s difficult to envision van Riemsdyk emerging so rapidly that he could have demanded much more than the value of this contract next summer if he was allowed to play 2011-12 under the final year of his rookie deal and enter free agency.
Now he already has his money, and after the departure of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, he’s expected to be part of Philadelphia’s shiny new offensive core. Holmgren and those scrappy yet panicked people of Philadelphia just hope they haven’t shown van Riemsdyk the money too soon.
Don’t worry though, because if JVR stumbles he’ll just be traded in a year. That’s how Holmgren rolls.