At the beginning of December, Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos suggested that Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds may be a name that comes up more before the trade deadline. The Flyers remain out of playoff contention, and of course Simmonds is the club’s most valuable asset and would retrieve the highest return on the market.
Simmonds is also set to become an unrestricted free agent after next season and the Flyers have some big money contracts that could make meeting Simmond’s salary demands very tricky. However, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman believes GM Ron Hextall will do everything he can to hold on to his forward.
“I think they will try to keep him,” said Friedman during a Friday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960. “I think they will try to keep him. Hextall – I think they love him. He’s a big part of what they do. He’s hard to replace. How are you going to replace that guy?”
Sure it would be hard to replace Simmonds, but let's not forget: he will turn 31 this summer when his extension kicks in.
A huge problem ahead?
If Friedman is right and the Flyers hold on to Simmonds and offer him a hefty contract extension in the summer, will their decision come to bite them back in the butt? Friedman was asked the following question of this very issue:
“You wonder, in this league, is this a guy who gets to 31 and then it starts to really fall apart for him and then you’ve got two or three more years of term left on an extension?”
“I think you always worry about that,” said Friedman. “The one thing is is that they know him better than anyone else does, right. We’re going into a new age now. People don’t abuse their bodies like sports reporters do. They take care of their bodies. They’ve got very sophisticated sports science systems. I don’t know if you’re going to be as effective in your 30s as you are in your 20s – I think that’s legit – but it doesn’t mean you still can’t be effective.
"They are going to know Wayne Simmonds better than anybody else. And if they believe, based on what they know of his body, they’ll extend him. I really believe that.
“I mean, there’s always a cap issue. But I know they really like him. I know they consider him to be very important to what they do. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays there."
Move him or keep him?
Should the Flyers and Simmonds not be able to agree on an extension when the time comes, there is no doubt the trade interest for the veteran forward would be huge. However, the top forward has a modified no-trade clause through which he can name a 12-team no-trade list.
We will have to keep a close eye on this...