Dom Lunardo | March 26th, 2020
Next up on the UFA Player Profile list takes us to the Queen City, Buffalo, New York. Let’s dive in and further examine the potential “ask” from newly acquired Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, a pending unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
Unusual 12-Month Span
It’s been a tumultuous 12 months for Wayne Simmonds, who has played for the Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres since being traded from the Philadelphia Flyers during last season’s trade deadline. A long-time Flyer, Simmonds spent the better part of 7 seasons donning the black and orange of the Flyers in the City of Brotherly Love and was revered by teammates, fans, and coaches alike. It couldn’t have been easy for the Scarborough, Ontario native, playing for 4 different teams in a calendar year. But as they say, the NHL is a business, and business comes first. Last month, Simmonds found himself on the move again. This time, he joined Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and the Buffalo Sabres, in a move that undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows across the league.
His size, strength, experience, and leadership ability all bode well for potential suitors, who will value what Simmonds could add to any organization. However, the dilemma surrounding Simmonds (and interested buyers) will be both the dollar amount that teams will be willing to pay, and the actual term/length of the contract. Another potential fork in the road will appear in the form of Simmonds’ on-ice production which has seen a steady decline over the past few seasons. Simmonds’ point totals have significantly decreased since being moved from the Flyers last year. In 95 combined games with Nashville, New Jersey, and Buffalo, Simmonds tallied only 9 goals and 19 assists for 28 points to go along with an abysmal -17 rating. Not exactly the prototypical season(s) that he would like to have leading up to NHL free agency this summer. With all that being said, it’s always challenging to get a read on potential deals from one NHL General Manager to another, who are always under immense pressure and scrutiny to try and further improve and retool their rosters from one year to the next.
With the National Hockey League season on “pause”, as fans, we can only hope for it to resume amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the NHL, and all other major sports teams to stop play for the foreseeable future. As for Simmonds, look for a contract extension that carries a maximum 2-year term. In terms of the dollar amount, my best take would be an average annual value (AAV) of anywhere between $2.9 and 3.8 million for a player whose best years are certainly behind him. As is the beauty with NHL free agency each summer, no one really knows for certain where a player ends up.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images