Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Rumors: James van Riemsdyk Trade Potential

By Mario Tirabassi
Nov 1, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk (21) reacts after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk (21) reacts after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away on February 29 at 2 p.m. CT. The Chicago Blackhawks are in need of a top-six forward and have been all season. Since the injury to Marian Hossa against the Ducks on Feb. 13, the Blackhawks are in even more of a need to fill that top-six role and, according to thehockeypress.ca, the Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs have been in talks for a trade involving Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk.

While van Riemsdyk is currently on injured reserve with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot, and has been since January 11, with his recovery timetable set at 6 to 8 weeks, that makes him likely available to be on the ice by the deadline date. So let’s get into the prospect of JVR coming to Chicago.

The Details

The report, which came out before the injury to Hossa, states sources close to the situation on the Maple Leafs side say the two teams have been in talks to trade van Riemsdyk to Chicago for a lofty price. Included in the deal would be van Riemsdyk, Bryan Bickell, Teuvo Teravainen and a prospect from the Rockford IceHogs yet to be named.

Here’s how the trade would reportedly break down:

Chicago acquires – James van Riemsdyk, Maple Leafs’ 2016 fourth-round pick

Toronto acquires – Bryan Bickell, Teuvo Teravainen, TBD prospect, Blackhawks’ 2017 second-round pick

Initial reaction would be, it’s great to acquire a proven top-six threat like van Riemsdyk and also get ride of the disastrous contract situation that is Bickell. But upon a more in-depth review, this may not be the solution the Blackhawks are looking for.

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Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Blackhawks are essentially swapping Bickell’s and van Riemsdyk’s contracts. According to General Fanager, Bickell has a $4 million cap hit for Chicago until he becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season. Van Riemsdyk has a $4.25 million cap hit this season, and a $5 million cap hit for 2016-17 and 2017-18 before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the age of 28. Bickell is 29 years old right now.
  • Chicago acquires a much-needed top-six solution for the left wing position, something it has struggled to find since losing Brandon Saad over the summer. Van Riemsdyk is a proven first-line option. After being the No. 2 overall selection by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft, one pick after Patrick Kane, van Riemsdyk has played in 406 NHL games with 248 points (122 goals, 126 assists). Also, van Riemsdyk has represented the United States in the IIHF World U18 Championships, winning a gold medal in 2006, as well at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Cons

  • The Blackhawks would lose Teravainen. Teravainen is very, very tough to give up in any situation given that he is only making $925,000, with not all of that going against the salary cap this year or next. After the 2016-17 season Teravainen becomes a restricted free agent at the age of 23 (in September). Chicago cannot afford to give up a world-class youngster like Teravainen for a possible short-term solution in the top-six. Plus, if all goes as it should, Teravainen should be a top-six option for the Blackhawks before too long.
  • The Blackhawks would give up a prospect and a second-round pick at a time when the team is proving its farm system is turning out NHL-quality talent. This is no time for the Blackhawks to sacrifice developing young talent.

Picture this: van Riemsdyk to van Riemsdyk, score!

The fun part of this trade rumor is that two van Riemsdyk brothers would be on the same team, as James could join his brother, Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk.

We have seen hockey families succeed in the NHL numerous times: the Hulls, Espositos and Staals, to name a few. It would be a rarity and a fun novelty to have the brothers on the same team.

So what do you think? Is the rumored trade for James van Riemsdyk a good one for the Blackhawks? Let us know in the comment section!

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