Wayne Simmonds may be asking himself if he prefers to stay with the Philadelphia Flyers or be traded elsewhere this season, however, it seems that the team itself is now asking the same question. The 29-year-old right-winger is going into the last year of his contract with Philadelphia, and a big question mark still remains for his future.
"Where talks go, I have no idea,” general manager Ron Hextall recently said to the Courrier Post Online. “We’ll talk to Simmer’s reps in the next little while here and we’ll see where it goes. If it has to go into next year, we’re comfortable with that. But until we talk, and seriously talk, I don’t have anything there. We like Wayne Simmonds. This doesn’t change anything for Wayne. This is a left winger. This is a different player than Simmer. We’re excited to have James (van Riemsdyk), and certainly we would like to have Simmer for a long time too.”
However, things might have changed a bit in the Flyers' plan with Simmonds since they found his potential replacement during the rookie camp and tournament earlier this month. A potential candidate to take over for Simmonds, at the much younger age of 19, is Isaac Ratcliffe, whom the Flyers traded up to take with the 35th pick in last year’s draft. According to the Courrier Post Online, "the 6-foot-6, 205-pound left winger has skilled hands that usually don’t go with such a frame."
Of course, Simmonds would get a lot of suitors seeing that he would bring an offensive power and some sandpaper to any roster. It is believed that the rumoured asking price for Simmonds is a first-round pick and a promising prospect. His value could go up throughout the season, seeing that last year he spent most time of the ice struggling with nagging injuries.
Hextall, while he never admitted Ratcliffe could be the perfect replacement for Simmonds, had great things to say about the kid.
“He’s really linked up for a guy that size. Zdeno Chara at the same age was all dangly. He looked like he needed braces on every joint in his body,” Hextall said. “You watch (Ratcliffe) and see him at this age and it’s like— the training is better and all that kind of stuff — to be that linked up at that age is amazing. He’s come a long way in a year."
The Flyers GM is not known to make risky moves, however, the comfort of knowing a young player can take over for Simmonds in the lineup might convince Hextall to pull a move and send Simmer elsewhere...