Maybe it's a coincidence. Uh-huh. That's what it is.

Or maybe, just maybe, second-year winger James van Riemsdyk is starting to come of age, starting to show why the Flyers made him the NHL's second overall draft pick in 2007, because of the deal the team made Monday.

The one they consummated without trading the player known as Reemer or JVR.

The one that, indirectly, made van Riemsdyk determined to show general manager Paul Holmgren he made a wise choice.

The Flyers acquired feisty forward Kris Versteeg from Toronto, which finally accepted first- and third-round 2011 draft picks after the Eastern Conference leaders refused to part with the 21-year-old van Riemsdyk.

In the next two games, van Riemsdyk, seemingly relieved he was still playing for a city that is only a 1½-hour drive from where he grew up in Central Jersey, had arguably his best back-to-back performances of his young career.

On Tuesday, he had a "Gordie Howe hat trick" - a goal, an assist, and a fight - in a critical 4-3 shoot-out win over host Tampa Bay. The bout, a lively encounter with ex-Flyer Randy Jones, was van Riemsdyk's first NHL fight.