Jul 5, 2012, 8:45 PM EST
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 …
- Rutherford: ‘Our guys felt very strongly about reacquiring’ Lovejoy 37
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline 59
- Giordano to have surgery, is ‘done for the season’ 18
- PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker 35
- Ducks get their veteran d-man, adding Wisniewski from Columbus 12
- Lovejoy returns to Pittsburgh for Despres 50
- Wild get Stewart as Buffalo-to-Minnesota pipeline continues 53
- Jordan Leopold’s daughter may have orchestrated the Minnesota trade 17
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils 68
- Can the Wings and Leafs work out a deal for Phaneuf? 49
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder (69)