Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wayne Simmonds Jersey Card

First things first: I understand why the Nashville Predators sent Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Wayne Simmonds' services at the trade deadline: he's a team-first leader who will sacrifice everything he has for even the slightest chance his team moves the puck forward, let alone scores a goal or wins a game; he's a two-time 30-goal scorer and two-time 60-point-getter who rarely got first-line time, so he's proven able to provide offense no matter where he was slotted in the line-up; he's a heart-and-soul gritty forward and the Preds might need more sandpaper than acrobatics and skill to get past the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets in the upcoming playoffs.

But I also understand why the Flyers had to let him go: this marks the third consecutive season his goals and points totals have gone down; he's clearly battered and bruised at 30 years old - despite missing only seven games last season, he dealt with five major injuries, including a torn groin, lost teeth, a broken ankle and a torn ligament in his hand - and even this year he looks like he needs to rest up and heal; he was also on an expiring contract that pays him enough for what he's delivering at the moment but had him massively underpaid for most of his deal, and it looked unlikely considering his trend downwards that his next deal would be win-win.

Like Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara, Simmonds has done enough to warrant wearing the captain's "C" for a team that will be using him less and less in his waning years - that's how good and deserving he's been, and that's how respected he is. But while most teams could use his leadership, very few teams actually need a captain at this point. As a matter of fact, most playoff-contending teams already have a few players worthy of the "C" waiting in the wings, most of them on the right side of 30.

And he hasn't exactly turned the NHL upside down since the trade, either, what with a single goal and one assist for 2 points in 14 games in Music City so far, on a team that boasts elite talent like Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis.

If I were a GM, would I have traded Hartman for his services (notwithstanding the fact that Hartman cost the Preds a good prospect and a first-rounder)? Absolutely. Would I re-sign him for more than one year with the way his last two seasons have gone? Nope.

So my guess is Nashville is betting he can help as a secondary piece - perhaps even a third-tier depth piece - on their way to another deep run. He can't do any harm, that's for sure. But I don't see them attempting to keep him after that, even if he goes on a 20-goal tear in the playoffs.

Here he is sporting (one of) the Flyers' Stadium Series black garbs (with matching game-worn jersey swatch), on card #PF-WS from Upper Deck's 2017-18 SP Game-Used Edition set and Stadium Series Fabrics sub-set:
Simmonds did not register a point in the February 25, 2017 game, but did nab a two-minute minor penalty for slashing at 18:00 of the third period, effectively keeping him in the sin bin until the end of the game. The host team Pittsburgh Penguins won the contest 4-2.

His final game with the Flyers was during this year's Stadium Series game, a 4-3 win against the same Penguins.

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