Though it doesn’t come as much of a surprise, the words have now come directly from the GM of the Philadelphia Flyers. Chuck Fletcher told Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the goal for pending free agent forward Wayne Simmonds “would be to either have him signed or moved by the trade deadline.” The team isn’t willing to let Simmonds walk for nothing in the offseason, which makes sense given the disappointing performance they’ve had in the standings this year.
Simmonds has been the center of trade talk since before the season even began, and recent news has put the chance of him being moved even more likely than any potential extension. The Flyers obviously love what he brings to the table, but he could also be one of the prime targets at the trade deadline and bring them back an even bigger package. Add in that the team already committed $7MM per season to James van Riemsdyk last offseason—who is supposed to bring some of the net-front goal scoring that Simmonds can also provide—and it’s hard to imagine a contract that would work between the two sides.
That’s not to say the team won’t try to get something done, but as a trade asset Simmonds is almost unmatched. He can provide a little bit of everything to a team, and comes with just a $3.975MM cap hit for the rest of this season. A physical force who can also keep up with skilled players is what basically every Stanley Cup contender likes to add come playoff time.
When we asked our community to predict his final destination this season the leading candidates were easily the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, two teams battling for position in the Atlantic Division. Though those two are obvious choices, there will surely be Western Conference teams taking a look in the next few weeks as well.