In the Capitals’ first 44 games of the season, Trevor van Riemsdyk played in only nine games. In three of those games, he received seven minutes or less of playing time. But with injuries forcing both Justin Schultz and John Carlson out of the lineup over the last two weeks, van Riemsdyk’s played in every game and been a steadying presence.
He’s also put up impressive numbers in a defense pairing with Brenden Dillon.
Dillon, after making an impression in a handful of games in 2019-20, had been something of a drag on his pairings in 2020-21. None of the pairings Dillon appeared in had seen the Capitals take more shot attempts or generate more expected goals than their opponents — until he started skating with the 29-year-old van Riemsdyk. In two hours together, Dillon and TvR have put up great numbers — 50.9 percent of shot attempts and 55.2 percent of expected goals.
“They’ve been a really good pair,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think they’re both big and strong. They defend well. Make a good first pass. They seem to complement each other. Play well off of each other. Dilly’s been in the lineup, but TVR coming back in, after missing so much time, I think that’s what is even more impressive about it. It looks like he hasn’t missed a beat.
“He was sharp in his first game (back against Boston on April 18),” Laviolette added. “That’s hard to do. Sometimes it takes a minute to catch up. It did not for him. He was very good from the start so I feel like he’s come in and really contributed without any setback at all.”
With John Carlson out again with a lower-body injury, TVR and Dillon will skate together again on the second pairing.
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 1, 2021
While TVR has struggled to find a role on a deep Capitals team, his performance lately shows why Brian MacLellan was so aggressive in re-signing him to a two-year deal in March despite barely playing.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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