The Carolina Hurricanes had an unusually busy offseason. Like the entire NHL, general manager Ron Francis had his eyes on Las Vegas in late June this summer. While most of the league was watching to see who the new franchise would take, Francis was considering what he could take. On June 22nd, just one day after the expansion draft closed, Francis dealt the 63rd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft for Trevor van Riemsdyk and a seventh round draft pick in 2018.
Van Riemsdyk is familiar with new teammate Brett Pesce from their time at the University of New Hampshire, where their college hockey careers overlapped for two seasons. After spending 3 years at UNH, TVR signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in March of 2014 and made his debut on the Blackhawks roster that fall. He spent roughly two and a half seasons on the Blackhawks blueline filling the role of a depth defensemen, playing primarily on the team’s bottom pairing. He potted 32 points (8g, 24a) in 158 games on the Hawks blueline since turning pro in 2014.
So how will TVR fit in Carolina? Probably better than he did in Chicago. He fills a need for the Hurricanes on the backend as he brings a much needed right-handed shot into the mix. His handedness and style of play would allow him to slot nicely in the 5-6th defensive role alongside a player like Klas Dahlbeck or possibly a left-handed shooting prospect who would be ready to make the jump.
While he likely won’t provide much point production, TVR brings a solid defensive style that will serve Carolina well in a depth role. He blocked 1.7 shots per game last season, just short of Pesce’s 1.8 and Jaccob Slavin’s 2.0 blocked per game and significantly higher than Justin Faulk’s 1.1 per game.
While he will likely again play in a depth role with the Hurricanes, TVR is a noticeable upgrade over past 5-6th defenders in the Hurricanes system. Furthermore, while it may sound cliche and overblown, Trevor van Riemsdyk is a winner. He has been exposed to winning culture constantly starting with his time at UNH and continuing through his time in Chicago, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2015. The TVR acquisition is another example of Ron Francis’ impressive offseason as he pieced together a very talented and competitive Hurricanes roster.