Wayne Simmonds wasn’t effective this season. In 61 games with the New Jersey Devils he scored just eight goals and then was traded for a conditional fifth-round pick to a team that had no real shot at the playoffs. Simmonds ended the year with a single assist in seven games with the Buffalo Sabres, meaning his final tally was eight goals and 25 points on the season. That was his worst year since 2008-09 when he was a rookie, but he still feels like he can contribute somewhere next season. Speaking to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Simmonds responded directly to the speculation that he could return to his hometown of Toronto:
So of course it’s crossed my mind. I know they’re in a bit of a salary cap situation and things of that nature, but you know I’m open to everything, Toronto’s got a great core of players and I think that’s definitely a team where I could go in and make an impact right away. It’s up to the teams. Whoever wants to choose me, I’ll be waiting. I’ll definitely be ready to go.
The Maple Leafs brought back hometown boy Jason Spezza this season on a league-minimum deal and may not have a lot more than that to offer to Simmonds, if the match were to be made. Even after clearing Kasperi Kapanen’s contract off the books, the Maple Leafs still have close to $74MM committed to just 16 players for 2020-21.
- Corey Crawford isn’t the youngest goaltender among those headed to unrestricted free agency, but he still may be one of the best. The 35-year-old bounced back from some concussion issues to record a .917 save percentage in 40 appearances this season, the exact number his career percentage sits at over nearly 500 games. He’s played each of those contests with the Chicago Blackhawks and the team is discussing a new deal with him to return. Scott Powers of The Athletic reports that the Blackhawks have offered Crawford a one-year contract around $3.5MM already.
- Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon is no longer the owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings, a team he’s been affiliated with since 1988. McCrimmon has sold the WHL team to the J&G Group of Companies, ending a long, successful era that also included stints serving as head coach and GM of the team he owned. Fans of the Wheat Kings shouldn’t have any fear of relocation after the sale, however, as new owner Jared Jacobson was born and raised in Brandon and is a huge part of the city’s business community. McCrimmon will also be remaining with the organization as an alternate governor.