It’s that time of year again. Names are going to be carelessly thrown around when talking about who will be traded, bought out, so on and so forth. For the Philadelphia Flyers, they’re in a very precarious position. They have a decent mix of young talent and veteran presence, but they aren’t quite there yet. Hextall will presumably have around 20-25 million dollars, which means he could be very active come free agency.
With two picks in this years first round of the draft, Hextall could be active on draft day as well. He will be picking at 14 and 19, and could potentially have his eyes on moving up by packaging picks or players together for a potential top 5 draft pick. Names like Adam Boqvist and Brady Tkachuk are intriguing, but maybe the Flyers decide to go a different route.
It has been mentioned that since Calgary has no first round pick, they are looking to get back into the first round, and therefore may be willing to part with one of their more high-profile defensemen. Dougie Hamilton has been a popular name in discussions, but he may garner more than just a first round pick.
Enter Wayne Simmonds.
This may be the unpopular opinion, but trading Wayne Simmonds at this point in his career makes total sense. He has one year left on his current contract, that hits the Flyers’ cap at 3.975 million dollars. Sure, there are other, more suitable candidates to trade away for a salary dump, but the timing is right for Hextall to pull the trigger on a Simmonds trade.
Simmonds is like a Volkswagen. VW’s hold their value very well, and, as evidenced by the 1992 Jetta that I drove around until 3 years ago, they run for a very long time. Wayne Simmonds is 29 years old, and despite the absolute laundry list of injuries he played through this season, he can still produce at a high level. The man put up 46 points on a broken ankle, torn ligaments in his right hand, six teeth being knocked out, a torn pelvis, and a pulled groin due to the torn pelvis. The man is an absolute warrior, and that only increases his trade value.
Three years prior to this season, Simmonds averaged 30 goals and 24 assists for around 54 points. Having found himself on the third line towards the end of the season, that’s not a bad stat line for a third line winger. Would he alone garner a first round pick? Probably not. Could he be packaged with a first rounder to move up into the top 10 in this year’s draft? Absolutely. Add in a depth forward like Jordan Weal or Taylor Leier, and the Flyers may be able to acquire a top five pick, and could end up being able to replace Simmonds with a younger, healthier option.
At 29 years of age, Simmonds isn’t getting any younger, and players tend to have already hit their peak by this age. Selling (somewhat) high on Simmonds right now could be the perfect option for a team that is ready to start infusing their youth into the lineup. The veterans already in place, like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier, would present more than enough leadership for the rookies and younger players, not to mention Ivan Provorov proving his worth this year as well on the blue line.
Ideally, Hextall will look to potentially move up in the draft this year to try and take either a scoring winger who can help this team now, or a right handed defenseman that could also help this team now. If One isn’t available, chances are he focuses on the other. Free agency could provide some help on both fronts, but Hextall isn’t known for making big splashes in free agency, but he also hasn’t had the kind of money he has to spend this year.
Time will tell what happens this offseason, but don’t be surprised if Wayne Simmonds’ name comes up often in trade rumors. He will be sorely missed if traded, but if Hextall pulls the right deal, it could help ease the pain a little.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports