31 Takes: Why are teams lining up to acquire Wayne Simmonds?

Would teams be wise to pursue <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/4328/" data-ylk="slk:Wayne Simmonds">Wayne Simmonds</a>?
Would teams be wise to pursue Wayne Simmonds?

Seems like the Flyers fire sale (Flyer sale) is definitely underway.

They gave up Jordan Weal, who’s not great or anything, for a sixth-round pick and an ECHL defenseman. That’s life, I guess, because Weal — who’s 26 and has just 42 points in 134 career games — isn’t moving the needle for anyone. Plus, you probably have to clear roster space for kids and the various prospects you will soon acquire in a sell-off of other talent on expiring deals.

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So get the low pick, take the body to make the 50-man lists work, that’s all fine. Chuck Fletcher certainly isn’t done making deals here, nor should he be. And it seems that next up is Wayne Simmonds, who is being described in glowing terms by every capital-I Insider who has their ear to the ground.

The praise being heaped on Simmonds indicates that the market for him over the next several weeks is going to be quite high, probably because a lot of people think of 30-year-old Simmonds as being more like 26-year-old Simmonds: a guy who’s going to score you 30 goals and put up 50-plus points with ease, plus drive possession a little bit.

Obviously the numbers this year don’t back that up, as he has just 13 goals and six(?) assists through 44 games, without driving play in the right direction, and with his ice time scaled back. The Flyers are a mess and maybe teams can persuade themselves that they’d put him in a better position to take advantage of his unique talents: speed, toughness, standing in front of the net on the power play, shooting 13 percent, etc.

But what’s the cost? A first-round pick is a certainty, but that might not be all. Probably won’t be. And do you really want to give up those kinds of assets if you’re a contending team for a guy who’s having a down year, on an expiring contract? Especially if a younger, seemingly more effective power forward-type in Micheal Ferland is available from Carolina for a presumably lower cost (still reportedly a first-round pick)? Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

No one is saying Simmonds is a bad player or even that a change of scenery wouldn’t make a difference. If you put him with two actual top-six players instead of this season’s regular linemates (the aforementioned Weal and a rotating cast of legit talents including James van Riemsdyk and Jake Voracek), maybe he starts producing more like the player GMs still seem to think he is. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but he can probably help a power play at the very least, right? Except the Flyers’ power play has a ton of talent and currently ranks second-last in the league at 13.1 percent.

You’re seeing a lot of high-end teams being connected with Simmonds: Winnipeg, Tampa, Nashville. The Predators could probably use some power play help, though their long-term injury situation clouds what the PP “could be,” but neither Tampa nor Winnipeg should be in the business of giving up assets for a player like this who, frankly, doesn’t fit their approach and probably doesn’t provide a lot of RO for their I.

Can he help lesser teams that have a few more forward depth issues? Sure he can. Will he do it to the extent that they probably want given his rep around the league? I have a guess.

While you can never really guess what the market will be for these things, it seems to me as though there’s likely to be a lot of similarly priced forwards on the trade market this year who provide a little more bang — and goals — for your buck.

But perhaps not as much “jam,” which, as the purported Simmonds market shows, remains perhaps the league’s biggest market inefficiency.

31 Takes

Anaheim Ducks: The idea that the Ducks won’t fire Randy Carlyle (which they should ASAP) in-season is simultaneously understandable and insane. Like, he should never never never be allowed to coach the team again but at the same time, who cares? Joel Quenneville couldn’t save these guys.

Arizona Coyotes: Connor Garland scored and also gave an object lesson in keeping your friggin’ helmet strap tightened.


Boston Bruins: Sucks that the Leafs will probably have to play these guys in the playoffs. Boston is now 3-1 against Toronto this year, and the Leafs have just six regulation wins in their last 15 meetings, playoffs included.

Buffalo Sabres: I keep saying it this season but yeah you can go, “Wow the Sabres blew a lead, that’s bad!” But you also have to acknowledge that they did it against a team that’s gonna have 130 points this season, so, like, what are ya gonna do?

Calgary Flames: The assertion that Noah Hanifin (turning 22 in 11 days) is “one of the youngest blueliners in the National Hockey League that is playing a regular everyday role at the world’s highest level” is a bit of a stretch. There are nine defensemen with at least 35 games played who are younger than him. He’s in his fourth year in the league, you don’t get to say he’s making rookie mistakes anymore. He just might be kinda not good at defending, y’know?

Carolina Hurricanes: Sebastian Aho is so good. Not enough credit for him.

Chicago: Just an incredible take.

Colorado Avalanche: Hey, maybe the Avs will end up with the first and second picks in the draft if this keeps up.

Columbus Blue Jackets: This Panarin guy? He’s pretty good. CBJ should try to keep him. That’s my take.

Dallas Stars: A million thinking guy emoji:

Detroit Red Wings: Why does no one in Detroit want to acknowledge that this team ended that game ELEVEN points out of a playoff spot with FOUR MORE games played than the team occupying that last spot? Every time I read the local media coverage, they act like this team isn’t 28th in the league. I truly do not get it. Congrats on your “statement win,” you’re a point behind the Blues.

Edmonton Oilers: At what point does it no longer become an “effort” thing with the locals and everyone just acknowledges that this team is horrible?

Florida Panthers: This is getting brutal to watch. There’s gotta be a change.

Los Angeles Kings: Say what you want about Snoop Dogg, he seems to really like hockey. Which is more than you can say about most “celebrity fans” in this sport.

Minnesota Wild: This is another thing about the Red Wings’ “statement win.” When teams lose to you and spend the entire time after the game going, “damn, that’s humiliating,” you probably really stink!

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs still don’t have a positive goal difference? What in the world?

Nashville Predators: Ah, come on.

New Jersey Devils: Ya don’t say.

New York Islanders: Huh, the Islanders have lost two of their last three games, against Carolina and the Rangers? Pretty interesting, to me.

New York Rangers: How was that the first time the Rangers ever won at Barclay’s Center? What?

Ottawa Senators: “Well, nobody died.”

Philadelphia Flyers: Very embarrassing. Dead-end team.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Yes, it would be nice to not-lose to last-place teams quite so often. I guess the good news is you don’t play too many last-place teams in the playoffs.

San Jose Sharks: These guys have three regulation losses in their last 20 games. Seems, to me, like that’s good.

St. Louis Blues: My theory is that Ryan O’Reilly is good.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning won on Saturday after a bad first period because Jon Cooper did the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” silent treatment thing, and it worked.

Toronto Maple Leafs: In acknowledging that Willy Nylander is having some really rotten luck — just one goal on 29 shots in 16 games — he’s also not doing himself any favors with his dumbass critics by only having three points so far.

Vancouver Canucks: Do you know how many one-skill players the Canucks have actively acquired in the past few years under Jim Benning? It’s crazy.

Vegas Golden Knights: Hey, speaking of that Sharks streak, the Knights also have three regulation losses in their last 20. The Flames, still sitting atop that division, have four in the last 23. Incredible race.

Washington Capitals: Burakovsky is extremely getting traded.

Winnipeg Jets: Definitely always a good idea to make sure you’re not setting your struggling stars up to succeed.

Gold Star Award

Brent Burns finished Saturday’s contest with a game-winning goal and two new gemsbok antelope. Pretty nice night at the office.

Minus of the Weekend

Patrick Marleau was on the ice for three goals against on Saturday night. Second time this season that’s happened to him against Boston. That seems, y’know, bad.

Play of the Weekend

High-level move to beat your division rival in OT then do one of their guys’ trademark celebration. You gotta respect it.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “sabreforlife” has a bright idea.

To Buffalo- Matt Duchene
Mikkel Boedker

To Ottawa- 1st Rd pick
Kyle Okposo (35% retained)
Sean Malone

Signoff

Well, howdy, Reverend Lovejoy. Nice to see you there… on my lawn with… your dog.

Ryan Lambert is a Yahoo! Sports hockey columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)

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