Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Van Riemsdyk's new role
By Victoria Matiash
It seems James van Riemsdyk is about to get his first real taste of top-line action with the Toronto Maple Leafs. With Joffrey Lupul (fractured forearm) out and Clarke MacArthur nursing a finger injury, van Riemsdyk is pegged to skate with Phil Kessel and center Tyler Bozak in Tuesday's tilt with the Buffalo Sabres.
"Offensive players like to play with offensive players who have the same mind-set," Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said, according to the Toronto Sun. "(Van Riemsdyk) just has to make a complement to the group ... He has a specific skill-set that matches him up with our offensive players, and through injuries to Lupul and MacArthur, we are forced to make changes in that grouping."
The imposing 23-year-old (six-foot-three, 210-plus pounds) winger is more than capable of giving Kessel some potential game-changing time and space. If the new top-line trio proves to be effective -- and Kessel ends his current goal-less drought -- coach Carlyle will be in no hurry to break it up.
Jay McClement is expected to replace van Riemsdyk alongside Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin on the second line, while David Steckel should sub in on the fourth line with Mike Brown and Colton Orr. Only the Leafs' third line -- Leo Komarov, Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin -- will likely remain unchanged.