Toronto Maple Leafs: James van Riemsdyk no longer available?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: James van Riemsdyk
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: James van Riemsdyk /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly telling teams James van Riemsdyk is not available prior to the trade deadline. However, his long-term future remains up in the air.

There was plenty to keep fans entertained on Saturday night, as the Toronto Maple Leafs stormed out to a 3-0 lead over the Ottawa Senators and went on to win 6-3. However, there was also something interesting brewing away from the ice.

Or maybe that should be not brewing. That’s because the ongoing saga surrounding James van Riemsdyk has seen an intriguing new development.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, at least two teams have inquired about van Riemsdyk, but have been advised he is not available prior to the trade deadline. Johnston revealed the news during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

In theory this is excellent news, as everyone involved with the Leafs would prefer for the winger to stay. He is a vital component of the roster, who is second on the team in goals and offers a rare combination of speed, talent and size.

However, this doesn’t mean the saga is set to conclude anytime soon. That’s because Johnston went on to say there have been no real negotiations to date, in respect of any contract extension offer.

We’ve previously declared full confidence in the ability of in Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello and Mike Babcock to make something work with van Riemsdyk. However, it’s not going to be straightforward.

According to Nick Kypreos, there reason for the lack of negotiating comes down to the 28-year-old’s insistence he won’t give the Leafs a hometown discount. As per Sportsnet, Kypreos said:

"“He knows what the market is for goal scorers. He knows what the price is out there for a guy like Max Pacioretty. He’s going to be in a position to say, ‘If you want me to bring the [average annual value of a deal] down, you’re going to have to go deep in term’,”"

Several weeks backTSN‘s Bob McKenzie reported van Riemsdyk wants a five-year, $30 million dealDarren Dreger later appeared on TSN 1050, claiming six years and $36 million.

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Even if this turns out to be slightly below want the 2007 second overall draft pick wants — for example, $7 million per season — the annual figure isn’t unreasonable for such a talent. However, the issue is the Leafs have numerous other players coming up for contract negotiations, so money is going to be tight.

We already know the trio of Auston MathewsWilliam Nylander and Mitch Marner are going to get extensions sooner than later. And this is before you include pending unrestricted free agents such as Leo KomarovTyler Bozak and Roman Polak. (Johnston added on Saturday that there have been no serious negotiations with Komarov or Bozak either.)

It is entirely understandable why van Riemsdyk wants to maximize his earnings potential, for what will likely be the last major contract he signs in the NHL. However, he has to balance this out with putting himself in the best possible position to win a Stanley Cup before he retires, with the situation in Toronto surely being near the top of the list to achieve this dream.

Next: What will happen to Matt Martin?

Taking everything into consideration, are you confident the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to agree a long-term deal with JVR? Or do you believe the winger will move on after this season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.