James van Riemsdyk is headed back to familiar territory.
The left winger signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, inking a five-year contract worth $35 million, which will have a $7 million hit against the salary cap through the 2022-23 season.
"I couldn't be more excited to be coming back to Philadelphia," van Riemsdyk said of the franchise that drafted him with the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft. "They have a great thing in place and I'm happy to be a part of that now and I'm looking forward to getting on the ice."
Van Riemsdyk was traded to the Leafs in 2012 in exchange for defenseman Luke Schenn and led the Maple Leafs in goals last season with a career-high 36. He finishes his tenure in Toronto with 294 points in 413 regular-season games.
While the Maple Leafs had their eyes set on snagging John Tavares, van Riemsdyk said he had several suitors interested in him leading up to the opening of free agency. His conversation with Flyers general manager Ron Hextall mixed with the moves Philadelphia has made is what convinced him to go back, he told NHL Network.
After spending the first three seasons of his career with the Flyers—during which he totaled 99 points in 196 regular-sesaon games—the 29-year-old winger will return to a few familiar faces. Jakub Vorachek and Claude Giroux were both on the team before he left for Toronto, with the latter being a potential linemate for van Riemsdyk.
"We needed a left winger, particularly in our top six," Hextall said. "Who he plays with I don't know, whether [Claude] Giroux plays the left side. ... I suspect he'll start there, but we have a lot of options and this gives us a true left winger that is a good net-front presence, a big body with soft hands, so we really value what James is going to bring us the next five years."