The Philadelphia Flyers suffered elimination, and it is time to switch gears and focus on what should be a busy offseason for Ron Hextall.
Two significant elephants in the room need to be addressed right off the bat. First, what’s to be done with Head Coach, Dave Hakstol, which is a conversation for another day. Second, and our topic of discussion for today, what is going to happen with Wayne Simmonds?
Since joining the franchise in 2011-12 via trade from Los Angeles, Simmonds has been a “heart and soul,” “whatever you need him to be” type player for the Flyers. He has always left everything out on the ice, put up points, and stood up for his teammates through his physicality. Additionally, he has fully emersed himself in the community, playing an active role in the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. Simmonds is precisely the kind of player you want pulling the orange and white sweater over his head.
Unfortunately, that dreaded time has arrived where the 29-year-old has only one year remaining on his current contract and Philadelphia needs to start thinking about how they are going to move forward with him. Luckily, there are a few avenues that can be taken. Of course, some being better than others. If Hextall wants to hold onto Simmonds, he can attempt to work out an extension with him and has plenty of time to do so. On the other hand, he can look to trade him, either around the draft or close to next season’s trade deadline.
Still, the question remains. What should the Flyers do with Simmonds?
The answer, as disheartening as it might be, is quite simple. Philadelphia needs to deal Simmonds for assets that can assist the organization with building off the progress that was made in 2017-18. The Scarborough, Ontario native will be 30 at the start of next season and will look to cash in on what should be his last big paycheck. With the youth movement in full force, Philadelphia cannot afford to devote a substantial amount of money on a veteran player. At the same time, the Flyers do not want to see Simmonds walk away while they receive nothing in return. Trading him is the only logical decision.
However, there still is the question of when is the appropriate time to deal him. That too has an obvious answer. Unless the world comes crumbling down, the Flyers fully intend on being contenders in the 2018-19 season. They want to have their roster intact from the get-go and certainly do not plan on being seller once the trade deadline approaches. Hextall must do what he can to deal Simmonds before or during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. If the season begins and he is still on the Flyers roster, trading him around the deadline will make little to no sense.
Wayne Simmonds’s value on the trade market has yet to be determined. His health could lessen his return if he is dealing with significant injuries. However, if he is healthy, Simmonds remains one of the best power forwards in the National Hockey League and should bring back a substantial return for Philadelphia.
It is never easy sending one of the more liked and respected members of a franchise packing. Philadelphia loves Simmonds, and it will be heartbreaking to see him go. Unfortunately, from an organizational standpoint, it’s in the Flyers best interest to trade him. This topic is not going away anytime soon and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.