(Photo Credit: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

During this past off-season, the Boston Bruins signed forward James van Riemsdyk to a one-year $1 million deal. The former second-overall pick was coming off his NHL career’s second least productive season. 

In 61 games last season with the Philadelphia Flyers, he had a line of 12-17-29. It’s clear he’s not the player he was earlier in his career, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney rolled the dice. The big 6’3 forward has found a solid role with Boston and has been productive, making his contract an absolute steal. 

Through 32 games this season, van Riemsdyk has put up 6-16-22, having the fourth most points on the team. He’s already just seven points away from his season total last year. He has found a great role, primarily playing in the third-line left-wing spot. Head coach Jim Montgomery has shuffled up the lines a lot this season, but it hasn’t affected van Riemsdyk much at all. He’s developed solid chemistry with Charlie Coyle, Trent Frederic, and Danton Heinen. He is currently playing with Fredric in the middle and Heinen on the right. 

The man, often referred to as JVR, has helped generate plenty of offense for the Bruins this season. He mostly plays a power game, doing a great job carrying the puck down the boards on the outside. There are few players remaining in the league who can generate offense playing that way, but it’s been a strength his entire career. A lot of his assists this season have come on very creative passes from the wing off the rush or from the boards in the attacking zone. In addition, outmuscling opponents in all areas of the offensive zone is another part of his repertoire. 

The biggest strength, though, of the former University of New Hampshire, Bobcat, is his net-front presence. He is an absolute moose in front of the net and, listed at 208 lbs, is very difficult to move out of the way. He’s made a living throughout his career by parking in front of the net, winning loose pucks, and either scoring goals or feeding teammates to score goals. 

That’s an attribute that makes him so strong on the power-play which we’ve also seen this season. Van Riemsdyk has a line of 4-5-9 on the man advantage, which is tied for third on the team. He’s a great option down low and is a total force at taking the puck to the net, and good things happen whenever the puck gets driven to the front of the net. 

JVR provides the Bruins with depth and a constant source of offense on the third line. Playing in that spot also favors him matchup-wise, as he less frequently goes up against opponents’ top defensive pairings. Overall, the van Riemsdyk contract is a tremendous deal for the Bruins, and so far, he’s had a bounce-back season.