Last season, after three near misses and a lockout shortened 2013, Wayne Simmonds finally hit the 30 goal plateau as she scored 32 times in the 15-16 campaign. Now this season, 31 games in, he’s added 15 tallies and that leads to the question, can Wayne Simmonds score 40 goals this season?
On a strict per game pacing, as of right now, he’s on pace for 39.677 goals, which is right under the 40 goal pace. One goal on Wednesday against Colorado and he’s right at 40. But given what we know about variance in shooting percentages, is it fair think the Wayne Train can sustain his play?
Via Hockey Reference
As of now, Simmonds is shooting at an 18.8% clip, well above his 14.5% average since becoming a Flyer. His season shot rate is 2.58 shots per game, which is in line with his 2.56 shots per game clip in the orange and black. So, based on this, if Wayne was to shoot his Flyers average from here to the end of the season, he’d take another 131.5 shots and would score 19 goals in the remaining 51 games for a total of 34 on the season and a new career high.
However, there is one difference between this year and his previous season in Philadelphia – he’s averaging 19:22 TOI per game this year, compared to averaging 16:46 as a Flyer. This extra 2:36 per game amounts to an extra 213 minutes on the ice all season. Given this change in ice time, Wayne’s shot rate is actually a bit lower this season. However, this is likely because most of his added minutes are coming as a penalty killer, where he’s seeing regular shifts this season.
Given the fact his extra ice time is on the penalty kill, it’s unlikely to expect he’ll add any extra number of shorthanded goals during that time to get closer to 40. It’s also possible the extra difficult shorthanded minutes take their toll as the season goes on.
That said, 34 goals and a new career high is nothing to slouch at. The amount of 40 goal scorers since Simmonds became a Flyer is a very small list.
If Wayne were to join that group, he’d be joining the elite of the elite goal scorers. So while 40 goals is nice, expecting 40 is a luxury, and not a requirement to consider him a great player. Can Wayne Simmonds score 40? It’s possible, but if you’re looking for a bet, 32-36 is probably more likely to be the final answer, and that’s still indicative of a top line scorer.