Flyers bring back JVR, Tavares still silent as Canada Day hits


The biggest news still hasn’t come yet. It looks like John Tavares will not be accepting the Islanders’ eight-year max contract offer. Midnight is about to hit and still nothing on his decision. Maybe it’s gonna be a wait for the Isles, Bruins, Leafs, Lightning, Sharks and Stars.

If that’s what he wants, it’s up to him. He doesn’t have to decide tonight or on Canada Day, which it is officially. So, maybe the July 1 frenzy won’t have many fireworks.

What we do know is this. The Flyers just became a serious player in the East. They’ve brought back James van Riemsdyk, agreeing to a five-year deal worth a reported average of $7 million per season. I figured it would be no higher than that for him. I just had the wrong I-95 team. I thought the Devils would get him. But somehow, I underestimated the Flyers again.

JVR’s addition spells the almost certain subtraction of Wayne Simmonds. They need to free up salary. Simmonds isn’t re-signing next year anyway. Not with the role he had this past season. Add in van Riemsdyk to Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, and Nolan Patrick, and the Flyers just got a whole lot scarier. Not to mention dynamic duo Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere on the blueline. We still don’t know about goalie. Isn’t that always the case with Philadelphia?

As far as other free agent news, Ryan Reaves re-signed with the Golden Knights. They reached agreement on a multi-year deal worth $2.775 million AAV. Not bad for a fourth line tough guy, who scored four goals with the Pens and Golden Knights. He did get two in the playoffs for Vegas, including the clincher that sent the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final. That’s more than twice what he earned.

Reaves had also been rumored to the Rangers, who had interest in a strong character that’s a lot tougher than anyone they have. They’re gonna need that. I’m not sure where they’ll go. Don’t tell me Leo Komarov either. Yes. He’s ornery and infuriates opponents with hits that sometimes are cheap. But eh. I’ll pass.

Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t moved from Buffalo yet. That means the Sabres are on the hook for $7.5 million due to a bonus that just kicked in. Happy July! It doesn’t mean he won’t be dealt. They could also keep him. It’s not like he’s a bad player. He’s a solid two-way center, who can play in any situation, produce points, and win draws. A very complete player. Why put so much pressure on Casey Mittlestadt?

In case I forgot to mention it, Jonathan Bernier went to the Red Wings, agreeing to a three-year deal. It’s still not available what he signed for. Brian would’ve preferred him over Carter “E.F.” Hutton, who the Sabres inked for three years. Terms remain disclosed.

I wonder how much activity we’ll see on a Sunday. I got school work due. I’ll try to provide an update during a break.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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