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Wayne Simmonds (Photo via Philly.com)

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Does JvR mean Simmonds’ time in Philly is up?

July 1 marked the biggest free agent signing in Philadelphia’s recent memory, bringing former Flyer James van Riemsdyk back to his original team.

My immediate reaction, among others, was to wonder what this means for Wayne Simmonds.

I definitely like the signing. It addresses a clear need for a true 2nd line talent scoring winger, a gaping weakness in the Flyer forward corps. It gives the Flyers the depth to put a 30 goal scorer on the 2nd powerplay unit. JvR takes a lot of pressure off Oskar Lindblom, who otherwise would have been likely thrust into a top-6 role he may not be ready for.

All at a cap hit of $7 million.

The Flyers will have plenty of space to sign their young guys next offseason, Provorov and Konecny the biggest. As of now, they head into the 2018-19 offseason with $30 million to play with.

But is Wayne Simmonds as important to the team as he was June 30th?

Statistically speaking, the answer is no. As much as we love Simmonds as a Flyer, he doesn’t need to be “the guy” on the powerplay. He’d be a welcome addition to the struggling 2nd unit, where he played when Patrick took over on the 1st. Or, depending on preseason and general evaluations, JvR slides into the netfront PP2 role.

However, this is a good problem to have. This leads to the front office not needing to overpay for his powerplay production. Something we as fans feared was extending him well into his 30’s with a big cap hit. His style doesn’t necessarily age well.

As long as he isn’t in a full body cast (and even then, good luck keeping him off the ice), Simmonds will give you 20+ goals. A similar cap hit on his next deal would be great, but given his history and leadership I could see it being near the $6-6.5M range.

If we don’t extend him, we have the unthinkable option: trade Simmonds.

I’ll start by saying no, I don’t think this is the answer, and there’s a number of reasons why.

I can see how some would say that, given his likely raise, that he won’t be a good financial decision. That Hextall needs to get value for him rather than hope he re-signs at a discount.

Having said that, to be a contender, Simmonds is exactly the guy you trade for. He’s a veteran leader on the team who actually produces, and is a top 3 net front presence in the NHL on a team friendly deal.

To get picks or a prospect in return for Simmonds is in direct contrast to what signing JvR means. Hextall thinks this team is ready to win, and to get rid of a captain for more future assets sets them back another year.

This could easily happen if come March the team isn’t a legitimate playoff threat. Otherwise, expect Simmonds to finish the season here. After recovering from a long list of injuries, he’ll be back to his old self.

For now, enjoy a forward group deep enough to push Simmonds to the third line.

Evan Watson
Evan Watson

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