The hot stoves are warming up, and the NHL trade deadline is getting closer by the day. With every day that passes, more rumors and speculation surface, putting fans on the edge of their seat to hear if a deal has been made or not. This is the holiday season for hockey fans, folks, and this year surely won’t disappoint.
Much of the spirited debate on what the Flyers should do at the deadline is centering around long time forward Wayne Simmonds. As we all know, Simmonds is on the last year of a deal earning him just under $4 million per. He clearly isn’t the same player as he was before last year’s injury-riddled season, but memories of his last 5 seasons haven’t subsided, considering he posted 50 points or better in 4 of those 5 seasons.
Sure, his best years may be behind him, but Simmonds still has plenty to offer, whether he’s offering it for the Philadelphia Flyers or another team looking to contend this year, remains to be seen. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has made it clear that the Flyers don’t intend on getting anything in return if the Wayne Train rolls out of Philadelphia.
“The goal would be to either have him signed or moved by the trade deadline.”
Two options, both very different. So, what’s going to happen between now and the deadline, and will it result in Simmonds staying in the city of brotherly love, or him taking his services elsewhere?
Bob McKenzie was on NBCSN earlier this month and give his two cents on the Wayne Simmonds ordeal.
“The expectation is if he goes to market he’s going to get at least five years, maybe more, and perhaps $6 million a year or more. And again, it could be a long term for less AAV, or it could be a shorter term for higher AAV. But in any case, it might be difficult for the Flyers to get in on that type of contract.”
So Wayne Simmonds is likely to get dealt. What kind of return can the orange and black except for an aging winger whose best years may be behind him? Past trade deadlines tell us that someone like Wayne Simmonds may land the Flyers more than what most of the fan base may be expecting.
It’s common knowledge that teams overpay at the deadline. Teams need to outbid competitors, and to do so, the rate of inflation becomes a key to getting those deals done. The first card that falls usually dictates what the cost will be for rentals moving forward. Wayne Simmonds will be a rental to any team that desires his services, and rentals usually demand a premium from the team willing to do business.
Past years deadlines have seen some outrageous deals go down, and this year surely will be no different. Back in 2017, the Los Angeles Kings dealt 26-year-old forward Dwight King to Montreal for a 4th round draft pick. King never surpassed 30 points on a season and was making around $2 million per year. A 4th round pick isn’t much, and it probably is a decent exchange between the two clubs. Point is, that this deal was one of the first to go down on deadline day, setting the tone for a rental player, and making it easier for teams with those types of players available to gauge a price tag for what they were selling.
Last year was a hotbed for rental players being dealt at the deadline. One of the biggest trades of the day was also one of the first to go down and was instrumental in laying the foundation for what rental players were worth. Paul Stastny was dealt from the Colorado Avalanche to the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional 1st and 4th round pick, and a prospect. Stastny was 32 years old at the time of the deal and hadn’t reached the 60 point plateau since the 2013-14 season. His stats were declining, much like Simmonds, but a hefty price was paid for his services.
Making $5.8 million per year also made it a little more similar to the situation surrounding Wayne Simmonds. The Jets got their rental they needed, but paid one hefty price for him, considering they knew his stats were starting to drop off. However, that’s what happens at the deadline.
Another example comes that same year at the deadline, where Evander Kane was traded to the San Jose Sharks for the same cost it took Winnipeg to nab Stastny, a conditional 1st, 4th, and a prospect. Kane hadn’t topped 60 points in his career yet, coming close on two occasions. Kane was also much younger, 26, at the time of the deal, and ended up re-signing with the Sharks, where Stastny ended up signing with the Vegas Golden Knights this past off-season.
Is it easy to draw comparisons between a potential deal for Wayne Simmonds and these deals for Kane and Stastny? Sure it is, but Kane was much younger than both Stastny and Simmonds, but he still fetched the same kind of return that Stastny did, so that’s why it’s being discussed.
One last deal that adds to Simmonds’ value is the deal for Tomas Tatar. Tatar was dealt from the Detroit Red Wings to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick. Tatar was 27 at the time of the deal and ended up being part of the Golden Knight’s package to get Max Pacioretty just six months after being dealt from Detroit to Vegas.
Tatar was younger, yes, but Tatar also had never topped 60 points in a season, something Simmonds has done twice. Tatar also hasn’t topped 50 points in a season since the 2014-15 campaign and is making around $5 million per year.
What does all this have to do with Wayne Simmonds?
Wayne Simmonds is a comparable player to these guys. He may not have the “star power” of a guy like Evander Kane, but Simmonds is a net-front presence that knows how to hammer pucks home at even strength and on the powerplay, and he is a force to be reckoned with while out on the ice.
Simmer will likely be dealt by the deadline, if not at it, and the longer the Flyers wait to deal the winger, the better it may play into their hands because as time passes by, teams get more desperate the closer to the deadline it becomes. Injuries and suspensions or what have you, things happen and contenders wind up needing that one more piece to add to the puzzle that may be the solution.
To one team at the deadline, Wayne Simmonds will be sought to be the missing piece to the puzzle. Don’t expect a 1st rounder, 4th rounder, and a prospect for him, but don’t be surprised if Chuck Fletcher pulls one off and manages to snag a first rounder out of someone. It’s happened before, and it’s bound to happen again, and whoever is giving it up will end up with a strong locker room presence, and a true competitor in Wayne Simmonds.
Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports