The Philadelphia Flyers are finally getting a bit of good news on the injury front, as veteran forward James van Riemsdyk has been activated from injured reserve and is set to make his return against the Washington Capitals tonight.
While it may be too late for the Flyers to make any sort of run toward the playoffs, getting van Riemsdyk back into the lineup is important for another reason. The 33-year-old is on an expiring contract and could potentially be a top trade deadline target later this season.
Even though he doesn’t have quite the same impact he might have had in his prime, there are still few players as dangerous as van Riemsdyk when planted in front of the net. He has long been one of the best in the league at deflecting pucks and cleaning up rebounds, and even this year he had two powerplay goals in the first six games of the season.
Yes, his $7MM cap hit makes him an overpriced asset for a club like Philadelphia, but at the deadline, he will look like an interesting depth scoring option for a contender. Perhaps most importantly, van Riemsdyk does not have any trade protection in his contract.
Getting him back up and running, racking up powerplay points, and showing he can still contribute should only help the Flyers flip him later on. For now, he’ll also give the lineup a boost as they try to build on a big win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.