Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds played through multiple injuries last season and revealed on Wednesday that proving he’s healthy could go a long way in earning a contract extension.
However, the veteran forward believes he has done enough in the National Hockey League and general manager Ron Hextall should possibly base his decision on Simmonds' future on his reputation.
“[Do I have anything] to prove? I don’t know. I’ve played 10 years in this league,” Simmonds said to reporters on Monday at BioSteel Camp. “I put together some pretty good years, so I don’t think I have much to prove other than just being the player I am.”
Simmonds did take part in 75 games last season, but required pelvis surgery once the Flyers exited the postseason. He’s entering the final season of the six-year, $23.5-million contract he signed in 2012. Hextall might not want to rush a long-term signing if his player is not healthy enough to honour it.
“I think they’ve had preliminary talks, but it is what it is at this point,” Simmonds added. “I gotta get healthy, first and foremost, and show that I am the player that I was two years ago. I think for being injured I didn’t have a bad season last year, but it’s still not to the best of my abilities.
“When we continue to talk, we continue to talk. So it is what it is right now.”
A big change took place this summer too when the Flyers landed coveted free agent James van Riemsdyk, and his addition to the roster might not leave much room to keep Simmonds. The clock is ticking and Simmonds' days in Philly might be numbered as not only van Riemsdyk is taking most of the room, but the Flyers also have a number of in-house options that could step into a top-six role, as well. Young Nolan Patrick will look to shine some more, especially in Simmonds' absence and Hextall might see no other way than to move him before the trade deadline.
If Hextall is indeed waiting to see how Simmonds' health holds up, he might be in for a nasty surprise... if Simmonds is not fully healthy and exciting on the ice, his value might go down and the Flyers could lose big in the end...