Wayne Simmonds on Possible Extension with Flyers: ‘We Continue to Talk’
One of the big offseason topics surrounding the Flyers has been Wayne Simmonds and his impending free agency after the 2018-19 season.
GM Ron Hextall has not shied away from discussing Simmonds. Despite trade rumors, Hextall has stuck by the veteran forward and fan favorite, saying he would like to sign him to an extension and that it was something being discussed this offseason.
Simmonds was in Toronto on Wednesday and addressed reporters on those talks.
"I think they've had preliminary talks," Simmonds said. "It is what it is at this point. I got to get healthy first and foremost and show that I am the player that I was two years ago. For being injured, I didn't have a bad season last year, but it's still not to the best of my ability. So when we continue to talk, we continue to talk. It is what it is right now."
Simmonds scored 24 goals in a year marred with many injuries, still on par with his average, though down from back-to-back 30-goal seasons.
Hextall hasn’t been the type to re-sign players in season and still has a couple weeks left before training camp begins to potentially get a deal done. That said, it seems unlikely at this point, meaning Simmonds will enter a contract year without a new deal.
In the last seven seasons with the Flyers, Simmonds has become a fan favorite, an All-Star and a regular 25 to 30-goal scorer. He’s established himself as one of the best net-front players in the league and has a competitive edge that is certainly unrivaled on the Flyers. With that kind of resume, Simmonds doesn’t feel like he has to prove anything in a contract year, but be himself.
"I don't think it's going to change much for me," Simmonds said. "I'm going to be the same player I always am. I've played 10 years in this league. I've put together some pretty good years, so I don't think I have much to prove other than being the player that I am."
Simmonds is expected to enter training camp healthy from last season’s numerous injuries, which should allow him to be that same player. With the addition of James van Riemsdyk and the emergence of forwards like Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom, a healthy Simmonds will only provide even more depth and stability to the forward group.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.