Philadelphia Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk heard all the trade rumors.
He was being dealt to Minnesota, where and his family live. The commute, he acknowledged, would be convenient.
He was being dealt to Seattle, where he would be reunited with coach Dave Hakstol.
He was being dealt to Detroit, where he could help the Red Wings make a playoff push.
None of the rumors, of course, became reality. So here JVR is, playing his final 20 games for the Philadelphia Flyers before he tests free agency this June.
Van Riemsdyk, who was the first Flyer on the ice at Saturday’s practice in Voorhees, said he was surprised he wasn’t dealt. He spent Friday hanging out with his young children and “trying not to let the roller-coaster ride get too overwhelming, so I was just at home with them and trying to enjoy a family day.”
He said he was “excited to finish out the year with the guys, and put our best foot forward and hopefully keep building what we’re trying to build here.”
Van Riemsdyk, 33, didn’t want to comment on reports he was getting traded Friday to Detroit. He said he will happily continue to mentor the younger players on the team.
The Central Jersey native was on a line centered by Kevin Hayes at Saturday’s practice. Hayes is another player the Flyers unsuccessfully tried to deal. Call it the Unwanted Line.
Here were the lines and pairings Saturday:
- Hayes centering van Riemsdyk and Wade Allison.
- Morgan Frost centering Joel Farabee and Owen Tippett.
- Noah Cates centering Scott Laughton and newly acquired Brendan Lemieux.
- Tanner Laczynski, who came off the IR list Friday, centering Nick Deslauriers and Kieffer Bellows.
- Defense: Ivan Provorov and Cam York, who left practice after apparently getting cut in the mouth; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen; and Nick Seeler and Tony DeAngelo. Justin Braun was the extra defender.
Coach John Tortorella didn’t understand why GM Chuck Fletcher was getting so much criticism for not dealing JVR. “Chuck tried, but everybody wants to pile on,” he said. … Lemieux, 26, a feisty winger who can become an unrestricted free agent in July, is wearing No. 22. In effect, he is getting a 20-game tryout. “I’m thankful for an opportunity to play hockey,” he said. “I wasn’t getting that opportunity in L.A.” … Farabee is goal-less in his last 21 games. … The Flyers host the Red Wings on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Red Wings dropped a 4-1 decision to the Islanders on Saturday afternoon. … Philly scored a 2-1 win in Detroit on Jan. 23 as Carter Hart stopped 30 of 31 shots and Laughton and Cates scored goals. The Flyers blocked 31 shots in the win.