Today’s going to be tough on a lot of people in and around the Flyers’ organization if rumors and reports are to be believed.
Wayne Simmonds has spent the past eight seasons donning the Orange and Black, serving as the personification of the Broad Street Bully mentality with the dynamic point production of a modern forward. He’s hit the 50+ point mark in half of his seasons in Philly, twice hitting 60 points. Despite having been plagued by injuries in recent years, he’s only missed fifteen total regular season games over the past six seasons.
He’s been known as a real presence in the locker room – not just a mediocre player tagged as being a “team leader” – and the roster from top-to-bottom has been adverse to discussing the mere possibility of Simmonds not being on this team after 3PM today. I pulled Travis Konecny aside after Tuesday’s beatdown from the Tampa Bay Lightning to ask whether the team had gone into that game with the added pressure to win it, knowing it could be Simmonds’ final game at Wells Fargo Center as a Flyer:
Konecny: No one’s thinking that way. That stuff’s up to the management side of things, we love Simmy in the locker room and we’re not planning for him to go anywhere. It’s just a matter of: it’s a business, so it’s nothing we can control. I think everyone just treated it like a normal game. Simmy went out there and played hard for us like he does every night.
TK’s comments weren’t different than I had expected. It’s been a long-held belief that the players have voiced their support – including a reported approach to management from the leadership core of the team – every step of the way. Captain Claude Giroux didn’t want to comment on that specific report around the Stadium Series game, but he did acknowledge the players’ support for their teammate. Giroux said of Simmonds after that 4-3 OT win, after the jump:
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) February 25, 2019
Outspoken forward Jake Voracek spoke about the uncertainty surrounding Simmonds’ situation:
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Coach Scott Gordon heard great things about Simmonds prior to arriving in Philly, but has grown to appreciate him even more:
While all of that is well and good, there’s been a ton of buzz from around the league that teams might be willing to part with a draft pick – as high as a first – and a prospect in exchange for the forward:
The Wayne Simmonds market has been all over the place today. Multiple teams struggling to hit the mark of a 1st plus a prospect. I suspect the market drops at the end & he is traded today. Have heard some good prospects A- quality available by teams with interest. @NHLNetwork
— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) February 25, 2019
Flyers getting lots of calls on Simmonds this morning but also interest in Michael Raffl and Brian Elliott. If Simmonds traded, Flyers may be more inclined to hang on to Raffl.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 25, 2019
Keep hearing the asking price by Chuck Fletcher for Wayne Simmonds is high…1st pick and a prospect…Teams are shying away.#NHLTrade
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) February 25, 2019
Whether or not the locker room’s influence and/or lack of value on the trade market has any effect on a deal remains to be seen. In my mind, the team should look to move on from Simmonds – at least for now – in exchange for the best deal available. If Chuck Fletcher can pry a first round pick AND another asset away from another team and DOESN’T pull the trigger, it’d be organizational malpractice. That said, I think the team would still be interested in reassessing the situation this off-season. For what it’s worth, Simmonds spoke glowingly about his time in Philadelphia and expressed multiple times his desire to stay. Asked after the Stadium Series game whether a potential trade would prevent him from wanting to explore re-signing in Philadelphia, he stated simply, “Never say never.”