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James van Riemsdyk signs five-year contract with Flyers

Forward will return to Philadelphia after six seasons with Maple Leafs

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James van Riemsdyk signed a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday as an unrestricted free agent.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 29-year-old forward had 54 points, including an NHL career-high 36 goals, in 81 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season.

 

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"Looking into it, the team that they have there, the pieces that they have in place and the pieces that seem to be coming, are making the organization very exciting," van Riemsdyk told NHL Network. "It's going to be a good opportunity to go there and I think I'll have a chance to win, and obviously being from the general area it's nice to be able to share some of this stuff with my family and have that comfort already with organization having been there before."

Video: Flyers reunite with forward James van Riemsdyk

Van Riemsdyk, a New Jersey native who was acquired by Toronto in a trade from Philadelphia for defenseman Luke Schenn on June 23, 2012, had 294 points (154 goals, 140 assists) in 413 games with the Maple Leafs after scoring 99 (47 goals, 52 assists) in 196 games over three seasons with the Flyers.

"We needed a left winger, particularly in our top six," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "Who he plays with I don't know, whether [Claude] Giroux plays the left side. ... I suspect he'll start there, but we have a lot of options and this gives us a true left winger that is a good net-front presence, a big body with soft hands, so we really value what James is going to bring us the next five years."

Video: Ron Hextall talks about signing James van Riemsdyk

Selected by Philadelphia with the No. 2 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, van Riemsdyk has 29 points (18 goals, 11 assists) in 59 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I think the fact that he was drafted by us and has a history here probably helped us through the process," Hextall said. "And again, we value homegrown players, players that have the Flyers logo embedded in them, and James is one of those guys, so we feel very good about this."

Hextall said signing van Riemsdyk would not affect possibly signing forward Wayne Simmonds to a contract extension. Hextall said June 22 that the Flyers intended to re-sign Simmonds, who is entering the final season of a six-year, $23.82 million contract (average annual value $3.97 million) he signed Aug. 16, 2012.

Video: Van Riemsdyk talks about signing with the Flyers

"We'll talk," Hextall said Sunday. "Where the talks go I have no idea. We'll talk to [Simmonds'] representatives in the next little while here and we'll see where it goes. We're comfortable if we have to go into next year, we're comfortable with that.

"We like Wayne Simmonds; this doesn't change anything for Wayne. This is a different player than [Simmonds] and we're excited to have James and certainly we'd like to have [Simmonds] for a long time too."

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