By Jenny Masters
One day after the trade deadline, James van Riemsdyk is still a Flyer.
There were reports that JVR was being traded to the Red Wings.
Instead, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
According to Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher, the two teams had agreed on a trade that would have sent van Riemsdyk to Detroit for a draft pick, with Philly retaining part of his $7 million cap hit.
But when the Red Wings couldn’t trade a forward off their roster to make room for van Riemsdyk, there was no deal.
“They had a concept that if they were able to move a forward off of their team, then they had interest in acquiring JVR,” said Fletcher, who said he was told the deal was off 20 minutes before the trade deadline. “All along, it was conditional on the other trade going through and eventually the other trade fell through.”
Van Riemsdyk was one of the biggest names still available on Friday. In his 14th season, he has 297 career goals and 23 points in 41 games this season. The Flyers considered him a veteran rental player who could help a contending team. Fletcher was surprised when there wasn’t a market for van Riemsdyk.
“The one offer that I did get for JVR was at 1:40 this afternoon, and it was a conditional offer,” he said. “I didn’t know what the market might be, but I thought there would be at least some offers that we had to consider.”
Fletcher said he spoke with every team in the NHL about potentially acquiring van Riemsdyk, not only so the Flyers could pick up assets for him but in the hopes of getting the veteran winger on a playoff team. But he said “every team told us ‘no’ several times” before the Red Wings came to the table.
“There’s no smoking gun here,” Fletcher said. “We certainly made everybody aware that he was available. We made everybody aware that we would retain 50 percent [of his cap hit]. We made everybody aware we would take a contract back if that would help. We talked about all kids of different scenarios. I can’t only control my half and there has to be a willing buyer. Until 1:40 today, we never had any type of offer.”
Fletcher said the only thing he wasn’t willing to take back for van Riemsdyk was a player with contract terms beyond this season, unless it was a player that could have helped the Flyers. But he said the market simply wasn’t there for a trade.
“Yesterday I received two calls: One on JVR and one on another player. I made 17 [calls],” Fletcher said. “We would have rather have a good pick and let JVR play in the playoffs, and the market spoke.”