Flyers fans should prepare themselves for trading Wayne Simmonds
Ever since the stunning June 23, 2011 trade sending Mike Richards to the Los Angelos Kings, Wayne Simmonds has had a major fan base in Philadelphia. He is one of the most beloved athletes in this city, and deservedly so. But Simmonds will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-2019 season. There is an argument to be made that trading Wayne Simmonds sooner than later would be better for the organization.
Fan-favorite since day one
Since his first season wearing the orange and black in 2011-2012, Simmonds has had a huge following in Philadelphia. A big, strong winger who not only likes to shoot the puck but is also willing to protect his teammates in any given scenario. In Flyers organization history, Simmonds is seventh overall in power play goals with 86. In four separate seasons, he has been top-10 in PPG in the NHL. Some say he’s been the heart of the team, earning praise from both coaches and teammates throughout his career in Philadelphia. He plays with so much energy, and his teammates certainly feed off of it.
Why do people still try to fight Wayne Simmonds? pic.twitter.com/hpZrw0ftdC
— Life of a Philly Fan (@PhillyFanLife) November 9, 2016
Unfortunately, his style of play may be catching up to him. Simmonds has always used his body as a weapon on the ice, which the fans absolutely love. But as we saw this season, injuries can and will happen. And the same very reason why he became so beloved in this city, is the reason Philadelphia fans need to prepare themselves for trading Wayne Simmonds. It would not be in the Flyers best interest to sign him to an extension.
Looking into the future
Simmonds will be turning 30 in August, just before the season begins. He will be spending his off-season nursing injuries to his pelvis, ankle, and thumb among other things. Past his physical prime, injuries will take longer to heal, and he is more susceptible to reinjury. Granted, we all know he would be willing to play right through them, based on his ironman mentality. But I think it would be detrimental to the team in the long run.
Considering his production numbers, having him signed at $3.975M these past several seasons has been a major bargain, per capfriendly.com. But the man deserves a big pay-day, and some team will definitely be willing to give it to him. I just don’t think it should be the Flyers. Some may say its easy for me to say that after an injury-riddled season, but that’s not the case. All things considered, Simmonds had a good season. Though his goal scoring was down from 31 goals in 2016-17 to just 24 this past season, he saw less than a 4% decrease in assists from year to year. He actually improved his plus-minus from -18 to -16.
Wayne Simmonds’ 200th NHL Goal is his 15th PPG of the season! pic.twitter.com/tjTeyoP0EN
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) March 16, 2017
Unfortunately for Simmonds, fans saw in 2018 that Nolan Patrick can play similar to his role on the power play, and he makes much less money. Simmond’s role on the first power play is one of his most valuable attributes. Drops in production are expected for players who are in their tenth career year, so none of this comes as a surprise. I don’t, however, see him ever reaching any of his career highs again, at least in Philadelphia.
Draft day bargaining chip
The Flyers currently own the 14th and 19th picks in the 2018 draft, and Simmonds could be a major addition to those if the Flyers wanted to trade up into the top 10. There are players in early picks of the draft that could help the team immediately, and if the Flyers want to contend this season, that might be necessary. They must keep in mind that next off-season players such as Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov will need extensions. So trading Wayne Simmonds for a draft pick could help the team financially in the long run as well.
It could be for a younger established player at wing or a right-handed defenseman. Or it could be a blockbuster type trade in order to move up in the draft. Regardless, I don’t forsee Wayne making it past next seasons trade deadline.
Don’t get me wrong, Simmonds has been one of my favorite Flyers to watch in my lifetime. He exemplifies everything I love about hockey, from scoring to physicality, as well as carrying himself so well off of the ice. Simmonds is a fantastic role model for any hockey player, and I truly want the best for him. He deserves a big payday, and I want him to get one. I just don’t believe it would be in the Flyers best interest, and he could be so valuable to another organization. He will be a fan favorite no matter where he goes and could land the Flyers some serious assets. Trading Wayne Simmonds is probably whats best for all parties involved. It will be an interesting off-season, to say the least. In the meantime, let’s enjoy some highlights from his time here:
For more information visit @PSN_Philly
Featured image: Sarah A via Flickr
all stats provided by NHL.com