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JvR thankful for Leafs' clarity before July 1

JvR thankful for Leafs' clarity before July 1
Published On: Thu, Jul 26
Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Auston Matthews puts on a team cap after being selected as the number one overall draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

As one of the citya€™s franchises takes on a flood of criticism for severing ties with a star contributor without fair warning, another earns praise from a former player for doing precisely the opposite. So it goes in an odd summer thata€™s brought its fair share of free-agency and trade-market chaos for Toronto.

After six years in blue and white, James van Riemsdyk will suit up in 2018-19 for the same club with whom he began his career, the 29-year-old goal-getter having inked a five-year, $35-million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 1. That move didna€™t come as much of a shock for the Maple Leafs faithful, as it was long assumed the club would lean on its youth next season, even before John Tavares was brought aboard.

And, as it turns out, van Riemsdyk wasna€™t caught off-guard by the Leafsa€™ intentions to move on, either.

a€œThey had told me a few weeks before free agency they were going to be going in a different direction,a€ van Riemsdyk said Wednesday during his introduction with his new club. a€œYou appreciate that. I enjoyed my time there. I think it was good for me as a person, good for my career. [I] had a lot of great memories playing there. I always look back fondly on my time there.

a€œTelling me that beforehand was good because it allows you to assess your situation a little differently in free agency, take some of the emotion out of it that might come from having those feelings of being some place for six years, and then you can really start to look at things objectively.a€

A sentiment DeMar DeRozan would undoubtedly agree with. After nine seasons in Toronto, the longtime Raptor was recently flipped to San Antonio in the blockbuster deal that sent Kawhi Leonard north. DeRozan has since been outspoken about Raptors president Masai Ujiria€™s failure to offer him the respect hea€™d earned by preparing him for the career-altering move.

His fellow ex-Torontonian had a far different experience, it seems.

a€œWith Toronto, thata€™s the respect I appreciated from them,a€ van Riemsdyk said Wednesday.

The five-time 20-goal-scorer, who hit a career-high 36 tallies in 2017-18, brings some much-needed offensive punch to a Flyers club on the cusp of progress. When he does make his on-ice return for the Flyers, hea€™ll do so with a few new tricks in his bag, courtesy of the time spent learning from the Leafsa€™ veteran bench boss, Mike Babcock.

Read the complete news article here...

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