By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue

On the first day of NHL free agency, the Bruins inked veteran winger James van Riemsdyk to a one-year $1 million contract. The 34-year-old has had a solid NHL career and will join his third NHL team in the 2023-24 season. He played his college hockey at The University of New Hampshire and was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL draft. Van Riemsdyk has played 940 games in the NHL over 14 seasons and has 300 goals, 291 assists for 591 points.

The former second-overall pick is coming off a frustrating season, with the Flyers only registering 12 goals and 17 assists in 61 games. He also spent time on the injured reserve list due to a hand injury and missed 21 games last season. With a fresh start in Boston and no longer being tied down by Flyers head coach John Tortarella’s style of hockey, Van Riemsdyk could be set for a bounce-back season. And Boston would greatly benefit from it.

The Bruins are nowhere near knowing what the roster will look like on opening night, but we still have a good idea of the possibilities for where Van Riemsdyk will slot in among the line combinations. Wherever head coach Jim Montgomery decides to put Van Riemsdyk, he will likely have an impact offensively. The 6’3 forward is an enormous net-front presence who has made himself a living driving the net and knocking in loose pucks around the crease.

With the uncertainty of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci returning, van Riemsdyk would most likely slot into the second-line left-wing spot and his center being Charlie Coyle. That would be a good fit, as the two play a very compatible style of hockey. The question, however, would be who gets plugged into the right-wing spot on that line. Right now, the most obvious choice would be Jake DeBrusk. A Van Riemsdyk, Coyle, and DeBrusk line would make for a good trio, as all three players play an excellent cycle game, have good puck retrieval, and protect the puck well.

If Van Riemsdyk can have a bounce-back season, that would immensely help the Bruins. He scored 24 goals two seasons ago, and if he could produce that or better, it should have a big impact on the team’s success. It would put the Bruins in good shape for their second-line scoring production, especially if DeBrusk can keep pace with his previous two seasons. It would also mean they found a solid and far cheaper option than Taylor Hall, who would have played that role if not traded.

The one thing that Van Riemsdyk could have the most significant impact on this Bruin’s powerplay. Although they ranked 12th in powerplay percentage last season, there were multiple stretches of dry spells without being able to cash in. Van Riemsdyk has been known as one of the top powerplay players in the league for a long time. He has 87 powerplay goals and 151 points and has recorded double digits in powerplay points six times in his career. The big winger is one of the best in the league at playing in front of the net, which would add an element to the Bruin’s powerplay they were lacking last season.

It will be interesting to see if Van Riemsdyk can excel in a new situation after playing on a rebuilding Flyers team for the past five seasons. A one-year deal at the money he’s getting could pay off as a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Bruins.