James van Riemsdyk Out 5-6 Weeks with Lower-Body Injury
The Flyers home opener is always an exciting time each year. Hockey is finally getting underway after a long summer of disappointment from the Phillies, and in addition to getting to see our favorite players returning, it's a chance to get to know the new faces that will hopefully lead the 2018-19 Flyers to glory. Names like James van Riemsdyk, Christian Folin, and Calvin Pickard, all new to the organization, are set to make their home debuts on Tuesday.
Well, Pickard will probably spend most of his on the bench.
And Folin will likely be a healthy scratch.
And van Riemsdyk is injured-wait what?
Van Riemsdyk was hit by a Mark Barberio clearing attempt late in the 1st of the Flyers game on Saturday against the Avalanche. While van Riemsdyk not returning was mildly concerning, considering the innocent appearance of the play, what were the odds that JVR had actually sustained a serious injury that would keep him out long term?
Apparently, high enough.
Ron Hextall announced Monday than JVR will be out for the next 5-6 weeks with a lower-body injury, meaning he will miss approximately 15-18 games, a killing injury for the Flyers forward depth and power play.
While the Flyers forward core was already solid before they added JVR this summer, doing so was a major increase to a Flyers team maybe lacking one more top-6 forward, especially during the playoffs (since Wayne Simmonds was playing so hurt all last year). It also signified a step up from fringe playoff team to a contender. Not a cup favorite yet, but a message that this team needs to make the playoffs this year. The injury hinders the 1st factor, but doesn't change the 2nd - it just makes it tougher.
Thankfully, the Flyers forward outstanding forward depth should allow to weather this storm. Jordan Weal is likely to slot in on van Riemsdyk's LW3 spot (don't even think about putting in Dale Weise, Dave!), while Oskar Lindblom will get his PP time on account of his offensive skills and left-handed shot. Neither of these two are as good as JVR, but possess quality offensive skills that can help the Flyers in his absence. It will be a bummer that his first return to the Wells Fargo Center likely won't be until November, but hopefully when he returns the Flyers are in a position where his return is the key they need to take off in the standings.