The Toronto Maple Leafs are focused on possibly signing coveted free agent John Tavares, while one of their own is gathering more and more interest. James van Riemsdyk is patiently awaiting the opening of free agency season this Sunday, and it seems like many teams will be making a bid for the talented forward.
According to NHL insider Chris Nichols, who cited TSN's Darren Dreger on social media, there is now at least 12 teams interested in signing van Riemsdyk to a new contract. At least.
Some pundits recently claimed that the Boston Bruins are interested in the 29-year-old winger, whose explosive offensive boost has been central to the Maple Leafs’ recent success. The rumour is now getting traction as Dreger believes the market for JVR is growing.
Van Riemsdyk, who scored a career-high 36 goals last season could cash in on a heft contract, especially after the San Jose Sharks offered a seven-year, $49 million deal to winger Evander Kane this offseason. Van Riemsdyk is poised to earn roughly that, however a source has claimed that he could take less to stay in Toronto. However, the Leafs and general manager Kyle Dubas might have another plan in mind, especially if they convince Tavares to come on board.
The 29 year old winger’s six year, $25.5 million contract expires on July 1st, making him eligible to any team on the open market, and they are lining up!
There has been chatter that the Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks have also shown interest in JVR as the opening of free agency quickly approaches.
"van Riemsdyk could be a long shot to sign with the Blackhawks due to cap constraints, but the two sides are expected to talk. Defense and goaltending are the glaring needs, but the Blackhawks will likely explore all ways to improve. Van Riemsdyk could be an option," recently said The Athletic's Scott Powers.
One problem remains for the Hawks: Cap Friendly indicates Chicago has over $68 million invested in 17 players with all their core players under contract next season. Assuming an $80-million cap ceiling next season, signing JVR might be too much of a challenge.
Where will he end up?!?