Coming off a career-best 36-goal season with the Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk looks much more relaxed and confident as he begins the first year of a five-year, $35-million contract.
At a Wednesday press conference to formally introduce him to the media, van Riemsdyk sounded much more mature and self-assured than the 2008 version.
“I think the more experience you have with this sort of stuff (like answering a lot of questions), and the day-to-day of what your life is like, you figure out how to stay pretty even-keeled for everything,’’ the player known as JVR said at the Skate Zone.
“Over the course of a long season, there are going to be some high points and some low points. You have to keep picking yourself up when things aren’t going your way, approach each day with the same mentality and usually, you dig yourself out of it.’’
The Flyers were aggressive in their approach to landing van Riemsdyk, who was slotted behind only ex-Islander (and current Maple Leaf) John Tavares on the list of UFAs.
“I remember walking in here my first training camp and there were guys like Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen and Ian Laperriere,’’ he said.
According to van Riemsdyk, he had somewhere between 10 and 12 offers but decided to return to the Flyers, not only because it was familiar turf but also because of the organization’s commitment to winning.
“The first thing I noticed about the Flyers ever since I was drafted was that they will do whatever it takes to win,’’ he said. “They have every resource you could possibly want to hopefully find an edge. That’s kind of the way it’s been here forever so you want to be in a situation like that where every year, no matter what, we’re going to find a way to win.’’