February 18, 2019
With the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline now just a week away, we figure it's as good a time as any to start regularly checking around the landscape of the league to see if there are any more moves for Chuck Fletcher to make between now and 3 p.m. next Monday.
Over the weekend, Fletcher swapped goalies with Edmonton, sending them backup Anthony Stolarz in exchange for their starter, veteran Cam Talbot. For obvious, Carter Hart-related reasons, this move made total sense. But with the Flyers now just six points from a playoff spot after going 12-1-1 over the last month-plus, Fletcher's decision on whether he's buying or selling becomes slightly more difficult.
When it comes to the future of one Flyers player, however, it appears Fletcher and Co. have not drastically changed their collective opinion despite the sudden climb up the standings. And, should the Flyers find a trade partner, it's a player fans are going to hate to see leave.
Yes, we're talking about Wayne Simmonds.
According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, the Flyers remain intent on dealing Simmonds, who has recorded 378 points (203 goals, 175 assists) in 581 games over eight season with the Flyers but is a pending free agent, ahead of the deadline. In fact, the Flyers are so set on dealing Simmonds that they haven't even made an offer to keep him beyond this season, per Seravalli, who is as plugged in as anyone when it comes to this stuff.
Up until now, the only way to glean insight into Simmonds’ future has been to interpret what hasn’t been said.
The belief is that under new GM Chuck Fletcher, the Flyers haven’t made an offer to keep Simmonds and extend his contract.
Fletcher may circle back to the Simmonds camp next week and make a last-second pitch if the offers from teams aren’t up to snuff. He will also need to juggle where the Flyers sit in the standings and whether Simmonds makes sense to keep as an “own rental.” The Flyers currently sit eight points back of Pittsburgh for the final wild-card spot and do not own any of the tiebreakers.
Right now, all signs still point to an amicable breakup over the next 10 days. Simmonds is No. 4 on the latest TSN Trade Bait board. [tsn.ca]
[Note: After sweeping the Red Wings over the weekend, the Flyers are just six points back of the Penguins.]
Speaking of that TSN Trade Bait list, Simmonds, who carries a lower cap hit than any of the players ahead of him and has notched 27 points this season (16 goals, 11 assists), is actually the only Flyer in the top 50.
Will Fletcher find a trade partner for Simmonds and pull the plug before the deadline? Will he have a change of heart and wind up working out an extension for the long-time Flyer? While we wait for answers to those questions and more, let's take a look around the league for the latest NHL news and trade rumors heading into next week's deadline.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports