After Monday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes was postponed, the Flyers had most of their regulars back from COVID. Of course, they were still missing Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis, Derick Brassard, and Rasmus Ristolainen – but they entered Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins healthier than they’d been in a while. However, a sloppy first period was ultimately their downfall, as a solid effort through the last 40 minutes wasn’t enough to overtake Boston. And on Saturday, the Flyers dropped another one, this time to the New York Rangers. Through these three games, some players facilitated the limited success the team did have. However, others did not perform quite so impressively. Each week, we’ll take a look at Philadelphia Flyers players who are on a hot or cold streak. This week, we’ll examine Cam York and James van Riemsdyk.
Be sure to check out last week’s streaks as well.
Hot and Cold Streaks, Including Cam York
Hot Streak: Cam York
This week, Cam York did just about everything that could be asked of him. He remained physical and energetic (more on that later). No goals were scored against the Flyers while he was on the ice. And best of all, he scored his first NHL goal.
Let’s talk about the goal first. A speeding Zack MacEwen flipped the puck at the Rangers net, where Igor Shesterkin directed it away for a rebound that hit the boards and skidded out to York at the blue line. He blasted a shot under Shesterkin’s blocker to put the Flyers ahead in the game. The lead would last for less than a minute as Filip Chytil answered with a tally of his own. It was an unfortunate ending, but nevertheless a timely first for York.
The Bruins game was less eventful for York…up until the end. With six skaters on the ice, MacEwen gave away the puck behind Boston’s goal. It slid into the Flyers zone, where Brad Marchand was the first to collect it, seemingly with nothing between him and the empty net. All of a sudden, York cut inside and ran into Marchand, sending him to the ice – and, most importantly, ensuring that the puck stayed out.
The play didn’t affect the end result of the game, but it was important for several reasons. First, it prevented a demoralizing empty net goal. Second, it prevented Brad Marchand – widely disliked for his on-ice antics – from scoring said empty net goal. And for the Flyers, it was a sign that in York, they had a player who was willing to put in the effort until the very end. Overall, this week was confirmation that York is ready for the NHL, and should remain with the Flyers even when Ristolainen returns.
Honourable Mention: Cam Atkinson
Cam Atkinson had yet another solid week. Against the Bruins, he deflected a shot from Ivan Provorov to give the Flyers a powerplay tally. He also logged an assist, receiving a pass from Joel Farabee to pull Tuukka Rask out of position, then quickly directing it back to Farabee for a tap-in goal. In that same game, Atkinson had a shorthanded breakaway but was stopped by Rask.
Saturday against the Rangers was less eventful for Atkinson. He graded out excellently by possession metrics, with a 59.38 Corsi-for. He also recorded three shots on goal, tied for the team high. Perhaps his most important play of the game was a rush and point-blank shot that forced K’Andre Miller to take a holding penalty. In all, Atkinson generated promising chances and delivered on many of them – just not enough to put the Flyers over the top.
Cold Streak: James van Riemsdyk
After scoring both Flyers goals in the game against the San Jose Sharks, James van Riemsdyk has gone cold. He recorded no points this week, bringing him to two points and a -6 plus-minus through his last five games.
As usually is the case with James van Riemsdyk, he wasn’t particularly bad, at least from a statistical standpoint, through the two games. He had no penalty minutes, wasn’t on the ice for any goals against the Flyers, and even won the possession battle against the Rangers, with a 57.14 Corsi-for percentage and 6.49 relative Corsi (via Natural Stat Trick). But these results just aren’t the kind that is expected of a player who is being paid what van Riemsdyk is being paid.
Currently, van Riemsdyk’s contract comes with a $7 million cap hit. That’s the third-highest on the Flyers, behind only Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes. The closest contract comparable, according to CapFriendly, is Max Pacioretty of the Vegas Golden Knights. Pacioretty has six more points than van Riemsdyk in 20 fewer games.
With the Flyers looking more and more likely to be headed for a rebuild with every passing game, they’ll be looking to offload van Riemsdyk’s contract at some point. But with the production he’s put up this season, it will be difficult to justify his value to other teams.