When the invitation to attend Philadelphia Flyers development camp arrived, Trevor van Riemsdyk was excited.
A freshman at the University of New Hampshire, van Riemsdyk already had been passed over twice in the NHL Draft, and didn't expect to be drafted when the 2012 selection process was held last month. So having something to fall back on was a good feeling. There also was the presence in Philadelphia of his older brother, James.
Then came June 23, and the Flyers traded James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just over two weeks later, Trevor was scheduled to arrive at camp and wear the same practice jersey his brother used to wear.
James van Riemsdyk's younger brother, Trevor, is looking to impress the Flyers, his brother's former team, at development camp this week. (Courtesy: University of New Hampshire)
Would it be awkward? Trevor admitted he had to take a few moments to consider his options.
"Once the news went down, I thought about it," he told NHL.com. "But I still wanted to come even though he wasn't going to be here. It was an opportunity for myself. I had to think for myself for a little bit there. It's definitely a great opportunity. It's a great camp, and this is a great organization. To get invited here is an honor and I wanted to come and see what I could get out of it."
He also got some advice from his brother, who had nothing but good things to say about his now-former employers.
"He has nothing but good things to say about Philly," Trevor van Riemsdyk said. "It's not like he's bitter about the trade. It's part of the business. He told me go there and have fun, learn as much as you can, do your thing and it'll all take care of itself. It’s a great experience. He did one or two of these things so he knows what he's talking about."
The camp, which runs July 9-15, is the second van Riemsdyk has attended this summer -- he also went to the Ottawa Senators' development camp. The 20-year-old defenseman says he's treating these camps as a chance to show the scouts what they might have missed the past few years.
An offensive-minded blueliner, the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder had four goals and 15 assists in 37 games, and a team-best plus-7 rating on a team that had a minus-2 goal differential and went 15-19-3.
"Personally it went about as good as I could have hoped," van Riemsdyk said. "Coach [Dick Umile] showed a lot of faith in me, gave me a lot of opportunities and I tried to do the most with it."
After playing the previous two seasons with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, van Riemsdyk didn't have much trouble stepping up his game to the NCAA level.
"It didn't take him long to adjust," Umile told NHL.com. "He played very well for us as a freshman. He's a very smart hockey player. He's probably as good a defenseman coming in as a freshman that played [in the NCAA]. He understands the game, sees the ice well, good composure with the puck."
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Flyers director of player development Ian Laperriere, who is leading the camp, has seen similar traits.
"You can see the individual skills he has," he told NHL.com. "Trevor has some good skills for sure, the way he skates, the way he moves the puck. … He's looked really good. As a defenseman you're looking for quick feet and how they move and he's moving really well in the drills we did."
With a high-end offensive game, van Riemsdyk said he knows he needs to get bigger and stronger, which will help his defensive-zone play.
"Getting physically stronger, picking up little things from this camp, become a better skater because you can never be fast enough and strong enough," he said. "Work on stuff like that, work on stuff in my end. If you can't play defense as a defenseman, you're not going to play in the League."
And if he does make it to the NHL, he'll be able to pick the destination. Rather than dwell on not being drafted, van Riemsdyk said as an NHL free agent, he has the advantage of being able to pick the situation that best fits him.
"Now you're not limited to one team," he said. "If things go the way you want them, you can pick the best situation for yourself. Matt Gilroy is a guy you look at in a situation like this. He was a free agent, picked the spot best for him and it worked out well for him. That's motivation to get at it because something good can come of it."
Umile has no doubt van Riemsdyk will achieve his goal.
"He's going to be a sophomore this season and he'll be better than he was last year," Umile said. "Just continue to develop and by the time he leaves [New Hampshire], whenever that is, he'll be ready to play. No doubt in my mind he'll have that opportunity. … There'll be a lot of teams chasing him."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK