Wayne Simmonds is set to be the most talked about Flyer this upcoming season in regards to his next move. The soon to be 30-year-old right-winger is going into the last year of his contract with Philadelphia, and a big question mark still remains for his future. His report card boasts impressive numbers ever since being drafted by Los Angeles in 2007, and he has always been a gritty player that will stand up for his teammates whenever a situation may arise. Simmonds is coming off of a down year in points with 46 – his lowest total since 2012-13 – but that is largely due to playing through a pelvic tear, fractured ankle, torn ligament in his thumb, and multiple mouth injuries throughout the 2017-18 season. When you think of the kind of physical stress that must have been taking place on his body, failing to hit 30 goals doesn’t sound like such a horrible, unforgivable offense. So that brings us to the million-dollar question; what will become of Wayne Simmonds in 2018-19?
Option one would see Wayne Simmonds re-sign with the Flyers on a fairly large contract that would take him well into his 30s. He is coming off of a six-year, $23.85 million contract, and he is deservedly due a big payday. The Flyers have cleared up almost $9 million in cap space by shedding the contracts of Matt Read and Valtteri Filppula and should have significant money to play with, allowing them to re-sign the power forward if they want to do so. However, it is worth mentioning that there are some other big names on the free agent list for the Flyers next year, including Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, and both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth. Simmonds will, for good reason, be asking for an adequate contract to meet both his skill level and leadership. The question then becomes: will Hextall and the gang be able to offer something suitable for Simmonds?
The next option is pretty wide-open and would send Wayne to another team via some sort of trade between now and mid-February of next year. There are many teams in need of a power forward who can put the puck in the back of the net, and many are willing to pay what Wayne Simmonds will be looking for. Simmonds can avoid going to certain teams, 12 to be exact, via a clause in his current contract, but that still leaves a lot of teams in the running to land the forward. The major factor in this scenario will regard Simmonds’ level of play in the upcoming season. With the injury bug hopefully behind him, we should see the return of the back-to-back 30-goal-scorer that we saw in 2015 and 2016. With a return to old form, GM Ron Hextall would be forced to think long and hard when considering the impending trade offers for Simmonds. Another factor is the recent free agent signing of winger James VanReimsdyk to Philadelphia, who plays a similar net-front style to Wayne Simmonds. While the rest of the group is starting to build momentum, the Flyers still have some potential issues in the blue paint. Carter Hart is on his way, but it’s still too early to tell how soon he makes the NHL roster and, in the meantime, can Elliott and Neuvy continue to hold down the fort, or will Hextall’s hand be forced to find a more reliable net-minder, possibly via a trade involving Simmonds? Time will tell, but the phone will undoubtedly be ringing with offers.
The final and absolute worst case scenario for the Flyers is that nothing happens this season in regards to negotiations with Simmonds. This sends the forward to free agency next summer and gets Philadelphia zilch in return. Obviously, Hextall and Co. will be doing all they can to avoid letting Simmonds walk for nothing, but in all reality, the possibility is still there. Wayne Simmonds has proven himself, registering 187 goals and 164 assists since arriving in Philadelphia in 2011, after being traded from the Los Angeles Kings. Not only does he have the scoring touch via a massive body in front of the net, but it’s been long recorded that Simmonds possesses those intangible leadership qualities that so many teams desire. Where he lands, no one quite knows, but one thing is for sure: Wayne Simmonds’ name will be on the lips of a lot of individuals this upcoming season, both inside and out of the Flyers organization.
Featured image courtesy of Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports
Daniel is an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan from South Central Pennsylvania. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org