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Unsung Flyers LW Downplays Likely Last Game with Team

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James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers
James van Riemsdyk (secnd from right), shown in a 2021 photo, will likely play his last game for the Flyers tonight. Photo: AP.

James van Riemsdyk knows the end of his very good Philadelphia Flyers career is almost over, that Wednesday’s home matchup against the New York Rangers is likely his last game for the Orange and Black.

The 33-year-old left winger is expected to be traded before Friday’s 3 p.m. deadline, so he was asked after Wednesday’s morning skate if tonight was going to be an emotional moment for him.

After all, the New Jersey native was drafted No. 2 overall by the Flyers in 2007, and spent two stints covering eight seasons with the team.

“I try to just stay in the moment,” said van Riemsdyk, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July. “Stay day to day. … There’s a game in front of us and I’m focusing on that and not all the other stuff around it.”

Added van Riemsdyk: “There’s obviously some uncertainty there, but I’m just focusing on doing a good job and playing a strong game. That’s about it.”

It’s somewhat surprising that van Riemsdyk will in the Philadelphia Flyers’ lineup Wednesday. Many teams have benched expected-to-be-traded players because of the fear of an injury.

‘Ready to go’

“I’m a hockey player and I want to play,” said Riemsdyk, adding he is totally healthy after being banged up a bit and sitting out the previous game. “It’s fun for me, and I’m ready to go.”

Van Riemsdyk has nine goals and 23 points in 40 games this season. In his career with the Flyers, he has 143 goals and 291 points in 506 games. His best seasons were with Toronto, where he played for six years, and had seasons of 30, 27, 29, and 36 goals.

He said he was “feeling good” and that the injury was “just a minor thing. It just made sense with the pocket of a break we had to just be smart about it.”

Overall, van Riemsdyk has 297 goals and 585 points. He has had six seasons of 20-plus goals.

Van Riemsdyk wasn’t appreciated because fans were disappointed the Flyers — who had the league’s worst regular-season record in 2006-07 — lost the draft lottery and thus picked No. 2 overall in 2007. Patrick Kane, a future Hall of Famer, went No. 1.

He wasn’t Kane. But not many can compare with Kane, who has 446 goals and 1,225 points in his career. That said, the player they call JVR has had a very good career in his own right.

Van Riemsdyk is the fifth-leading goal scorer from the Class of ’07, behind only Kane, Jamie Benn, Max Pacioretty, and Logan Couture.

Pretty good company, indeed.

Breakaways

Elliot Desnoyers will probably be sent to the Phantoms after playing in Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. Coach John Tortorella said playing in the AHL playoff race is important for his development. … All of the Flyers’ trade candidates will play Wednesday, per Tortorella.

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