Jul 5, 2012, 8:45 PM EDT
When the Toronto Maple Leafs landed “thoroughbred” forward James van Riemsdyk via a trade, the immediate question was: where will he fit? Being that he’s a winger, lining him up with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul didn’t seem like an obvious answer,* but Lance Hornby reports that Leafs coach Randy Carlyle will give JVR a “long look” at center during training camp.
Now, such an idea doesn’t guarantee much. It could just be a short-term camp experiment. There’s also no promise that the Leafs would want to load up with that young trio of scorers, although Mikhail Grabovski seems ideally suited as a hidden gem of a second center.
Still, Carlyle hasn’t been shy about taking a look at big, American wingers in the middle. He gave (fellow second overall pick) Bobby Ryan a solid run at center in Anaheim, with moderate results.
Of course, playing center presents a significant set of challenges. The two most obvious questions are: can he handle the increase in defensive responsibility and survive in the faceoff circle?
It certainly wouldn’t hurt to take a look.
* – Even if Kessel came into the league with some experience as a pivot …
- Playoffs Tonight: Penguins aim to finish off Senators 8
- Kings’ Quick ‘didn’t have to work hard’ in shutout win over Sharks 7
- Discuss: Kings dominate Game 5, one win away from Western Conference final 20
- Discuss: Red Wings take 3-1 series lead 52
- Discuss: Rangers stay alive with OT win 78
- What they’re saying about the Avs hiring Patrick Roy 6
- It’s official: Colorado names Roy sixth head coach in franchise history 49
- Couture accuses Kings captain Brown of diving 38
- Three reasons why the Rangers might buy out Richards 26
- Richards made a healthy scratch for Game 4 35
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting (113)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (101)
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (95)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Live Extra: Watch coverage of Carb Day at Indy
- PHT: Senators fight for playoff lives in Game 5
- Struggling Blackhawks on brink of elimination
- PHT: Wings push Blackhawks to brink | Highlights
- PHT: Kreider keeps Rangers alive | Highlights
- PHT: Kings defend home ice, up 3-2 | Highlights
- PBT: Hibbert says Battier's knee to groin intentional