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Canes Add van Riemsdyk to Blue Line

Whirlwind day brings van Riemsdyk to Carolina

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

CHICAGO - Trevor van Riemsdyk was a member of the National Hockey League's newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, for about 12 hours.

Then, he was on the move again, this time to join the Carolina Hurricanes. From Chicago to Vegas to Carolina, all in less than a day.

"It's definitely been a bit of a whirlwind in the last 24 hours. A lot of speculation as to what was going to happen, and I just tried to stay in touch with my agent," van Riemsdyk said on a conference call. "We kept each other informed as to what we were hearing and what we knew or didn't know."

Why the rapid-fire player movement? The wrinkles of the expansion draft - wheeling and dealing behind closed doors and a roster freeze that was lifted on Thursday morning - made for a chaotic week. Van Riemsdyk was among the Blackhawks group exposed for the expansion draft, and Vegas selected him, as announced on Wednesday night.

Speculation that the Golden Knights might then flip the defenseman to the Hurricanes began to brew shortly thereafter, and the trade - the Canes acquiring van Riemsdyk and a seventh-round pick in 2018 in exchange for a second-round pick in 2017 (that originally belonged to Pittsburgh) - was made official on Thursday.

"I couldn't be happier," van Riemsdyk said. "It's a great team that's headed in a great direction, and I'm excited to be a part of it."

The addition of van Riemsdyk helps solidify the Canes' depth on defense, something Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis identified as an offseason priority. The 25-year-old blueliner is a right shot (remember: head coach Bill Peters prefers a left and right shot in each defensive pair) and joins an already young and talented defensive corps.

"It's definitely a different dynamic," van Riemsdyk said. "Carolina is a younger group, but it's a really talented group of guys that has played really well."

Van Riemsdyk will be walking in to a new locker room this fall, but the surroundings won't be completely unfamiliar, as plenty of familiar faces await. He played college hockey with Brett Pesce at the University of New Hampshire. He was teammates with Noah Hanifin at the 2017 World Championship. And, of course, as a former Chicago Blackhawk, van Riemsdyk knows Teuvo Teravainen, Joakim Nordstrom and Scott Darling.

"That will obviously make the transition a little easier," he said. "I'm sure the rest of the guys are great. I've talked to Brett about it before, and he's loved his time in Carolina a lot so far, so I'm really excited to come experience it."

Having Darling behind him in the crease, van Riemsdyk said, is reassuring.

"Scott's a great goalie. If he sees it, he's going to save it," he said. "He's made some pretty spectacular saves and has bailed me out quite a few times. I know I really like having him in the net."

In the 2016-17 season, van Riemsdyk appeared in 58 regular-season games for the Blackhawks and recorded 16 points (5g, 11a) and a plus-17 rating. The American blueliner amassed 31 points (8g, 23a) in 158 career regular-season games with Chicago and won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2014.

"I just try to be a pretty simple player out there," van Riemsdyk said. "Break the puck out and get the puck going the other way as fast as I can. Just pick my spots and knowing the right opportunities to jump in the rush and make plays."

It was a whirlwind day for van Riemsdyk, but he's happy with where he ultimately landed.

"I'm just excited to be a part of the organization," he said. "You've just got to play your game and do the things that make you successful and make the team successful."

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