Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Washington Capitals 2021-2022 Previews -- Defensemen: Trevor van Riemsdyk

Trevor van Riemsdyk

“Toil and pleasure, dissimilar in nature, are nevertheless united by a certain natural bond.”
-- Livy

If you look at the career of Trevor van Riemsdyk casually, you might think of him as one of those marginal NHLers who bounce around on the edge of getting a sweater for an NHL game or getting a notice that he has been sent down to the minors.  Things are not what they seem, though.  Van Riemsdyk has appeared in more than 75 games three times in a seven-year NHL career, and he might have topped 75 games on two other occasions, in 2014-2015, when he missed the last 64 games of the regular season and all of the postseason to a leg injury, and in 2016-2017, when he missed 20 games to an upper body injury.  The fact is, he has assembled, if not a career that inspires headlines, a solid resume nonetheless.  In 384 career games with three teams (Chicago, Carolina, and the Caps), he is 16-56-72, plus-9 (3-12-15, plus-2, per 82 games).

Odd van Riemsdyk Fact… Trevor van Riemsdyk is one of two NHL players to have been born in Middletown, New Jersey.  The other is his brother, James.

Odd van Riemsdyk Fact II… van Riemsdyk is one of three brothers – James and Brendan being the others – to have played for the University of New Hampshire.  He is the only defenseman among the three.

Fearless’ Take… With the departures of Brenden Dillon and Zdeno Chara, van Riemsdyk has an opportunity to cement a spot on the Caps’ blue line on a regular basis.  The last two seasons, both of an abbreviated nature, limited van Riemsdyk to 69 games overall, over which he was 2-9-11, minus-8, with Carolina and Washington.  He could surpass all of those numbers this season, even as a third-pair defenseman. 

Cheerless’ Take… Trevor van Riemsdyk dressed for only 20 games last season in his first year with the Caps, so there is little to latch onto as far as his performance is concerned.  There is the matter of ice time; the Caps were 3-2-1 when he skated more than 20 minutes, 9-4-1 when he logged fewer than 20 minutes.  Although not an offensive defenseman, there was the matter of the Caps being 8-3-0 in games in which he recorded at least one shot on goal, 4-3-2 when he was blanked on the shot meter.

Potential Milestones to Reach in 2020-2021…

  • 400 career NHL games (currently 384)
  • 100 career NHL points (72)
  • 500 career shots on goal (473)

The Big Question… Can Trevor van Riemsdyk anchor a third pair on defense?

The top four spots on defense for the Caps are all but set – John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Justin Schultz, and Nick Jensen would appear to have those spots locked down.  The third pair is unsettled, with van Riemsdyk, Matt Irwin, Martin Fehervary, and Alex Alexeyev potentially competing for ice time.  None of that group has a big salary cap footprint, so the decision would seem to be a “hockey” decision, although van Riemsdyk has the advantage of being the only right-handed defensemen in this group.  Van Riemsdyk might not have a better opportunity to claim a regular spot in the lineup.  He has the experience to take advantage of that opportunity.

In the end…

Trevor van Riemsdyk played intermittently last season, one that was essentially broken up into two pieces – a seven-game run of games in late January/earl February, and an 11- game run to close the regular season.  He has not had a heavy workload the last two seasons, so the open question here is whether he will have more in the tank as the season grinds on, or he will hit a wall 40-50 games into the season.  It would seem he will get his opportunity.

Projection: 65 games, 5-14-19, plus-1


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