James van Riemsdyk (right) fends off Dion Phaneuf during Sunday's Leafs practice. JVR faces Flyers' Luke Schenn, whom he was traded for in the off-season, on Monday at the Air Canada Centre. (Jack Boland, Toronto Sun)
Almost a year to the day apart, James van Riemsdyk and Luke Schenn went to their respective draft stages in Columbus and Ottawa and put on the sweaters of the Flyers and Maple Leafs.
Both were glowing first-round picks who thought they’d found their permanent NHL home.
“Anyone who gets drafted, that’s their thought,” van Riemsdyk said Sunday. “They’ll play there 15 years, maybe win a Stanley Cup or two and sail off into the sunset. The reality is that doesn’t happen too often as far as staying with one team your whole career. That’s how professional sports work.”
He was speaking from the Maple Leafs dressing room at the MasterCard Centre, awaiting Monday’s arrival of Schenn and the Philadelphia Flyers in the first meeting since their June trade.
Van Riemsdyk was the second overall pick in 2007 to Chicago’s Patrick Kane, a big man who fit the classic Philly body type and was a resident from nearby New Jersey to boot. He would join a young Flyers crew that alre