With two big losses during the week and the trade deadline fast approaching, Wayne Simmonds is likely the top rental on the market the Flyers can offer.
Simmonds has a long reputation of being a tough guy with scoring talent and is coming to the end of a bargain 3.975M cap hit contract. Now coming into an age where players who play his style tend to decline, and his cap demands going forward likely to not fit in with the Flyers current movement to youth, trading him for a large return would be the wisest course of action for the Flyers.
Establishing a market for Simmonds isn’t difficult. He’s the middle six forward with grit, toughness, scoring talent and special teams ability that every team craves for a stretch run to chase a Cup.
Obviously, this means the starting ask involves a first round draft pick, whether it’s in 2019 or 2020, it’s a given that Simmonds should fetch one first round choice. For a playoff bound team, it will likely be in the 20-25 range this year.
After that, it’s about nailing a prospect. One name thrown around is Eeli Tolvanen from Nashville. That might be a stretch for Simmonds without adding something else also heading the other way. However, a mid level prospect should come the other way. While naming names might be difficult, Fletcher should try to acquire a forward with middle six potential or a top 4 defender. It doesn’t need to be someone who is already NHL ready, but a prospect who fits a need for the Flyers and is in the age range of the new Couturier-Konecny-Sanheim core that the team is building.
Chuck Fletcher has stated to the media in the past that his desire is to both improve the team for now and the future. A player who’s almost NHL ready can do just that. Fletcher can rotate him into the lineup for the remainder of the season while giving that player a leg up for a camp battle in October.
Of course, with the window getting ready to open, and contracts like David Clarkson and Milan Lucic not working out, the Flyers would be best served by moving Simmonds to maximize return.
He’ll be a hero beloved by the team and their fans for the exact same reasons that some GM will pay top dollar for him.