The Flyers have not made any recent progress in contract extension talks with winger Wayne Simmonds, reports Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News (Twitter link). The veteran is slated to become an unrestricted free agent and GM Chuck Fletcher indicated last month that either an extension would be reached or he would trade Simmonds by the upcoming trade deadline.
Presumably, a big sticking point here is the term of the contract. There’s no doubt that Simmonds will land a significant raise on his current $3.975MM AAV but how long will the Flyers (or other teams) want to sign him for? His rugged style of play has made him quite successful thus far in his career but also makes him a prime candidate to be susceptible to injuries while he turns 31 in August. It’s likely that Simmonds is looking for a deal that would take him to retirement but that might be a tough sell to Fletcher at this time.
Elsewhere in the very tight Metropolitan Division:
- Still with the Flyers, goaltender Brian Elliott is now participating in full practices and is likely to return to game action next week, suggests John Boruk of NBC Sports Philadelphia. However, it’s likely that those appearances will come with Lehigh Valley of the AHL in the form of a conditioning stint. Elliott has an outside chance of being moved by the deadline if a team decides they want some extra depth between the pipes so a good showing there may ultimately determine his fate when it comes to the trade market.
- Carolina’s recent hot stretch has their front office potentially rethinking their trade deadline strategy, notes Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic (Twitter link). Instead of being likely sellers, the talk has turned to whether or not they should be looking to add over the next couple of weeks with the emphasis continuing to be on upgrading up front. Most notably, this could change the plans regarding pending UFA winger Micheal Ferland. Instead of moving him elsewhere, the Hurricanes could look to keep him as an internal rental to not subtract from their postseason push.
- Artemi Panarin’s decision to change agents yesterday does not appear to be changing his plans beyond this season. Speaking with reporters, including Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch, the winger indicated that he’s still looking forward to testing free agency and that there is a chance he could still re-sign with the Blue Jackets. The 27-year-old ranked second in our Midseason UFA Power Rankings last month.