March 06, 2020
The Philadelphia Flyers have been playing well and surging up the standings in the Eastern Conference, solidifying themselves as one of the elite teams in the NHL this season. As a result, there’s been nothing short of good positive vibes at the Wells Fargo Center for the Flyers this year.
But for the first time in a while, the Flyers were dealt some bad news on Thursday. Veteran left winger James van Riemsdyk will miss the next 4-6 weeks after breaking his right index finger during the team’s 5-2 win on the road against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, the Flyers announced. It was the only damper on Philly’s seventh straight win and third out of four over its D.C. rivals.
The 30-year-old van Riemsdyk suffered the injury during the first period after taking a shot off of his right hand and immediately going to the locker room. He did not return to the game. JVR, who has been a crucial part of the Flyers’ third line during the team’s recent strong play, has 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points in 65 games this season.
"Usually with fractures, when you’re talking about fractures, you’re talking about four to six weeks,” Flyers’ head coach Alain Vigneault said to reporters before Thursday’s game. “That’s usually the case.”
How JVR performs is usually a good sign for how the Flyers fare. The forward had racked up five goals and 10 points in his last 11 games, and the Flyers have gone 22-5-0 this year when JVR scores a point.
Rookie forward Joel Farabee was recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to replace van Riemsdyk.
Given the timeframe of his absence, JVR likely won’t appear again until the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And for the Flyers, that’s the best case scenario. If Philly can continue to play well and secure a playoff spot as quickly as possible, the need for van Riemsdyk to play another regular season would be unnecessary, unless the team wanted him to brush the dust off before the postseason began.
Having a healthy JVR will be imperative for the Flyers in the playoffs, as any first round matchup will not be easy in the loaded East.