Weight: 185 lbs.
Cap Hit: $3.975 M
15 G, 17 A, 32 Pts
Enter: Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers forward came from Los Angeles to Philadelphia along with Brayden Schenn in the deal that sent former Flyers captain Richards to the Kings. With Richards having two up-and-down seasons in Los Angeles, Simmonds has been the portrait of consistency in Philadelphia.
Simmonds, 25, has missed just three total games since being acquired in June 2011 and has watched his play steadily improve for the orange and black. Standing at 6’2”, 185 lbs. Simmonds is one of the toughest players in the league as it takes more than a puck directly to the mouth to keep him out of the lineup.
Simmonds took a puck to the mouth during warm-ups and went to the dressing room, got nova cane, stitched up and ending up scoring later that night. He couldn’t speak to reporters following the game due to swelling. He has also scored by having a puck go off his face and redirect into the net.
One thing that will always stand out about the post-trade press conference is general manager Paul Holmgren’s insistence that “Flyers fans are going to love this guy” when talking about Simmonds. It is pretty obvious to see why. He is an agitator. He will drop the gloves. He goes to the dirty areas in the corner. He takes a beating while setting up in front of the net. He also gets his share of points as well.
The Ontario native has been extremely productive for the orange and black. In his first season in Philadelphia, he played in all 82 games scoring a career-high 28 goals and dishing out 21 assists for 49 points.
Simmonds’ presence was never needed more than last season. When Flyers’ resident agitator and dirty-goal scorer Scott Hartnell went down with a broken foot in the third game of the season, they needed someone to step up and fill his spot. Simmonds was the perfect candidate as his and Hartnell’s games mirror each other so well.
It worked well as Simmonds scored 15 goals and added 17 assists for 32 points in 45 games. It was actually more productive than his 2011-12 season from a points per game perspective as he averaged .597 points per game in 2011-12 but increased it to .711 points per game in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
The Flyers are most likely going to look to Simmonds as a second-line winger who can create traffic in front of the net for new center Vinny Lecavalier. Simmonds will get his share of opportunities and, if he isn’t getting his share, he will certainly create his own in front.
The former second-round pick has done a lot to endear himself to the Philadelphia fans and has won many of them over. Mike who? He will look to continue to do that this season.
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