With the NHL Entry Draft and free agent frenzy behind us, we are officially in the dog days of summer. Ron Hextall and the Flyers made one big move on July 1st signing James van Riemsdyk and appear to be happy with how the team looks. Though it’s unlikely any other significant transactions happen, Philadelphia still has one matter to handle. That, of course, is regarding the future of Wayne Simmonds.
We all know the storyline. Simmonds, who has bled orange and black more than anyone, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Turning 30 in August, it’s time for him to cash in and score a big-time contract. Although Hextall has publicly stated he hopes to re-sign veteran winger, it hasn’t happened yet. Of course, this leaves the masses with nothing else to do but speculate.
As mentioned before, Simmonds still has a one year left on his current contract. The two sides have plenty of time to sort things out before he is free to test the market. Let’s have a look at all of the ways this situation could eventually pan out.
Re-Sign Wayne Simmonds before July 2019
The two sides agreeing on a contract extension appears to be the most popular option from both an organizational and fanbase standpoint. Philadelphia loves Simmonds and Simmonds appears to love Philadelphia just as much. Not only can he put up respectable numbers, but he has also proven to be an inspiring presence both on and off the ice. You can bet that Hextall is going to do whatever he can to keep Simmonds with the Flyers, as long as its reasonable.
The word reasonable is a big one when it comes to Hextall and contract negotiations. He will not hand out a contract that he feels will impede on his longterm to plan. With Simmonds approaching the ever-dreaded old age of 30, Hextall will not want to commit both a substantial amount of money and term to him. So that is where things get a little tricky. My guess is Hextall would like to sign Simmonds to a shorter-term contract of two or three years with a higher cap hit. Hextall will want to pay less money if Simmonds wants a more extended deal. The biggest challenge is going to be getting Simmonds to agree to one of these contracts. There is a good chance he can score both high salary and longer term length if he hits the open market. The Flyers will be banking on Simmonds desire to stay in Philly.
Trade Wayne Simmonds This Offseason
Before the draft, this was a possibility. A lot of speculation surrounded the idea of Hextall dealing Simmonds during draft weekend. That didn’t happen. Now that we are in mid-July it is far less likely he gets traded before the 2018-19 season gets underway. Aside from the Erik Karlsson saga, it appears most teams are done moving and shaking for the summer. Hextall is probably content beginning the year with Simmonds on the roster, hopeful an agreement gets done.
Trade Wayne Simmonds Before or at Trade Deadline
If the Flyers and Simmonds can’t agree close to the trade deadline, there is the possibility he gets dealt. However, this will all depend on how the Flyers are performing. If Philadelphia is contending for a playoff spot, as they should, it’s unlikely he gets traded. Hextall isn’t going to want to jeopardize his team’s chances of making the postseason. On the other hand, if the team is struggling, Hextall trading Simmonds becomes more likely. When it comes down to it, the Flyers should be a playoff team this season. So although trading Simmonds during the season is possible, it’s unlikely.
Wayne Simmonds Signs Somewhere Else Next Summer
Until Simmonds signs a contract extension, ignoring this possibility is foolish. Likely his last big contract, Simmonds may seek to obtain all that he can. Unfortunately, that could be for another NHL franchise. Hextall isn’t going to sell the farm to keep him around.
At first, I firmly believed the Flyers would trade Simmonds this offseason. Now, I am finding it harder to picture him anywhere else but Philadelphia. It may not get accomplished this summer; but at the end, I believe Simmonds will be a Flyer after the 2018-19 season.