Colorado Avalanche Free Agency Profile: James van Riemsdyk

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22: James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 22, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22: James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 22, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche could still use to pick up some scoring depth in free agency. James van Riemsdyk could provide that — but at a price.

The Colorado Avalanche aren’t going to make a big splash in free agency. GM Joe Sakic has said as much. And why would they — they have their young core set. Plus, the Avs weren’t on John Tavares‘ short list, so we can get over that.

That said, I don’t think the Avalanche have ever stayed pat during Free Agency Frenzy. Even if they don’t make a big splash, they’ll still likely pick up a couple pieces to augment areas of need.

One area I think they’ll attend to is the forward position. They’ve got a bright future, but they need a little immediate scoring help. Here’s where James van Riemsdyk comes in.

James van Riemsdyk is a little bit of a controversial player in the Nail Yakupov way. He seems to have so much potential, but he never quite seems to live up to it. A second-overall pick, his best season in nine years in the NHL yielded 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists).

That said, when he’s played a full season — and he usually plays around 80 games — he’s been consistently mid-50s to low-60s in points.

We all know how much the Colorado Avalanche love their reclamation projects. So, we at least have to consider James van Riemsdyk.

James van Riemsdyk

Age: 29
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 217 lbs.
Position: Left wing
Shoots: Left
Previous Contract: 6 years, $4.25 AAV
Previous Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers

As you can see, James van Riemsdyk is one of those big forwards. He doesn’t always use that size for a physical aspect to his game, but it does make him harder to defend.

In addition to his size, he boasts speed. In fact, the two tend to go together — he’s got such a long stride.

What’s more, van Riemsdyk features many elite skills as well. He’s a great stickhandler — he’s even a particularly adept passer, which is an asset of the game that’s starting to gain more notice. And he has an accurate shot, which helps him with his scoring.

A couple more aspects of his game that make him a good player. He’s a tall man, so he has a long reach. He uses that fact to advantage when protecting the puck. He’s also willing to drive the net.

James van Riemsdyk puts up good, not hot numbers. In seasons when he’s played the majority of the games, he’s recorded between 54 to 62 points. However, he’s had two 30+ goal seasons and one at 29 — he’s got some sniping ability.

JVR in action:

James van Riemsdyk and the Colorado Avalanche

I don’t think there’s any question that James van Riemsdyk could augment the Avalanche’s scoring. He’s got the speed and stick skills, and he drives the net. He’s good for 50 to 60 points a season.

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However, is his worth to the team equal to the paycheck and term he’s likely to want? JVR is 29 years old and likely looking for his last, best contract. His last contract was six years with an AAV of $4.25 million.

To give an idea of what JVR might want, 25-year-old forward JT Miller just signed a five-year contract with an AAV of $5.25 million with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s between a 40- to 60-point player. He’s never had even close to a 30-goal season, capping at 22 goals twice.

JVR is going to want both money and term — he may be eyeing a very similar contract to that one. Can the Colorado Avalanche afford it? Absolutely. Even with recent signings and the Brooks Orpik buyout, they have a projected cap space of $18.5 million. And they don’t have any important players needing big contracts.

Are the Avs going to want to dish out that contract? My gut instinct is no, and partially because JVR is already 29. I think they’re more in the market for a Bryan Rust kind of player, a mid-20s player who puts up 30 to 40 points and commands a modest $3.5 million annually.

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I wouldn’t mind seeing James van Riemsdyk lining up on Tyson Jost‘s, J.T. Compher‘s or Alexander Kerfoot‘s wing. I just think it’s unlikely.

Free Agency Frenzy begins this Sunday, July 1. Teams are able to contact players they’re interested in starting last Sunday.