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Years since a Phillies catcher batted leadoff before Andrew Knapp did so Sunday

JVR returns

Posted by Eric Fisher On July 1

Not expected to be a major player in free agency, the Flyers reportedly signed the top wing available by bringing back left wing James van Riemsdyk.

The Flyers drafted van Riemsdyk second overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, but traded him to the Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Luke Schenn after three seasons. He had 47 goals and 52 assists in those three seasons, but developed into a better player during his six years with the Maple Leafs. Injuries cut two of those seasons short, but, in his four full seasons with Toronto, van Riemsdayk averaged 30.5 goals, including a career-high 36 last season.

ESPN’s John Buccigross reports that the Flyers will sign van Riemsdyk to a 7-year, $35 million contract. Signings can’t become official until Sunday at noon.

Still only 29 years old, van Riemsdyk provides scoring off the left wing, which is something the Flyers have been trying to find for ages, although Claude Giroux scored 34 last season after moving from center to left wing. He also scores a lot of goals from in front of the net on power plays; therefore, his acquisition could affect negotiations with Wayne Simmonds, who will turn 30 in August and is entering the final year of his contract.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said the Flyers would be in the market for a top-6 forward, a third-line center and top-4 defenseman. Hextall can cross the top-6 forward off his list after making the biggest initial splash as NHL free agency begins.

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