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Breaking: Two major signs that JvR is done as a Leaf

The writing is on the wall for van Riemsdyk.

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As we know, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a critical decision to make regarding James van Riemsdyk's expiring contract. It's been heavily discussed this season, with different scenarios being explored.

Do the Leafs re-sign him, trade him at deadline, or keep him as an "own rental" to aid in their playoff push this season?

According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, the Leafs appeared to have showed their hand, in two different ways - and if you're a fan of JvR in Toronto, you'll have to get used to the idea of him putting on a new uniform starting next season.

"As of a few months ago, van Riemsdyk was willing to take a discount to stay, a discount that would have put him outside the top 60 highest paid forwards in the NHL in 2018-19," Mirtle writes. "Something in the neighbourhood of the old Jordan Eberle contract from back in 2012 — six years at $6-million a season — likely would have been enough.

"That the deal hasn't gotten done raises some interesting questions.

"That there haven't been any talks suggests it will not happen."

van Riemsdyk will easily make more than that on the open market, if not in annual average value, at least in term. But this report indicates that he was, and probably still is, willing to take a discount to stay in Toronto. He wants to be here.

But there have been virtually no negotiations, which is a very telling sign that he is not in the team's plans, as they navigate difficult contractual issues in the next few years.

"If we're placing bets, my money is on the organization keeping JVR and then letting him walk to free agency come July 1. The time to sign that hometown discount deal was last summer — or at the very latest last fall.

"The fact it has gone this long — with almost nothing in the way of negotiations — says to me the Leafs organization has already decided on this.

"They've decided their money is better spent elsewhere."

By all accounts, it sounds like van Riemsdyk's time in Toronto is coming to an end. 

The signing of Patrick Marleau last season may have been an early sign of things to come.

Mirtle consulted several league sources over the last few weeks to see what the general feeling is about the Leafs' main impending free agents (JvR, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov) - and the sentiment was that of skepticism. It's generally believed that they will not retain the services of any of them.