Philadelphia Flyers veteran forward James van Riemsdyk will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a broken finger suffered in Sunday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Van Riemsdyk, 33, will miss roughly a month after a solid start to the season under first-year coach John Tortorella. The left wing has two goals, and is third on the team with five points through six games.
“I think he’s played really well,” Tortorella said after Tuesday’s practice. “He’s played hard. I think there’s been a little black cloud hanging over him, with a lot of people [questioning] who he is, and what type of player he is. But I think he’s played really well since the start of the season.”
On a rebuilding team that is looking toward the distant future, the 2007 No. 2 overall pick has found a role, and is averaging 15:30 time on the ice. He was on pace for a 27-goal season.
“This hurts,” Tortorella said. “It hurts our power play. It hurts some of the balance of your lines. He’s been a really good player. And there’s nothing we can do about that now.”
Flyers forward Scott Laughton concurred.
“Yeah, it’s big,” he said. “It’s tough for our group, but guys have to step up. And I feel like we’ve been doing that for a little bit here.”
Tortorella mentioned Laughton as a potential replacement for van Riemsdyk on the power play. Laughton, 28, also has two goals in Philadelphia’s six games.
“I’d like to add something to that unit, if I’m on it,” he said.
Tortorella’s Flyers have played a tougher brand of hockey, and despite the surprising 3-0 loss to the Sharks, Philadelphia is 3-3. The Flyers will host the Florida Panthers on Thursday.