The February 24th NHL trade deadline is fast approaching and the Devils have some decisions to make about the future of forward Wayne Simmonds.
Simmonds has moved around three teams in the last year and a half when he was traded last year as a fan favorite in Philadelphia over to the Nashville Predators who in similar fashion traded him to the Devils last off-season.
Simmonds has had an up and down career starting with the Los Angeles Kings to the Flyers, Predators and now the Devils and rumors are flying around the NHL that his name has been mentioned in multiple trading circles.
Simmonds will again be a free agent at the end of this season and the Devils have to make some quick decisions about keeping him around or using him for possibles trades around the league. Simmonds originally signed a one year, $5 million deal with the Devils and the Devils’ front office may be willing to part ways with him in order to continue the rebuilding process with younger players on longer contracts. NHL Trade Rumors has claimed that Simmonds has garnered interest from Colorado, Winnipeg and Columbus regarding trade with the Devils for Simmonds.
The biggest current trade rumor surrounding Simmonds seems to be coming from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic who claims that a deal is already in the works between the Vancouver Canucks and the Devils to send Simmonds north of the border to finish out the season.
According to LeBrun, the key to the Simmonds deal to Vancouver will depend on the health of forward Micheal Ferland. Ferland recently had setbacks in his recovery and return to the Cancucks roster and Simmonds may now be heavily sought after as a quick fix replacement in the Vancouver lineup.
LeBrun did add that Simmonds has stepped up as a team leader for the Devils and the trade is not necessarily a “done deal”.
“It should be noted, interim Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald hasn’t totally committed to trading Simmonds, a pending UFA. As one source described it Thursday, that’s still a decision that is in limbo. Simmonds is so respected in the Devils dressing room and his leadership impact so real that it’s not out of the question New Jersey wants to keep him around.” –nj.com, 2/7/20, attributed to Pierre LeBrun
If the Devils want to have a long term commitment to Wayne Simmonds, it’s up to Simmonds himself to prove that he is valuable to the Devils organization not only as a team leader but a scoring producer.
After 57 games played this season, Simmonds only has 7 goals which of course isn’t the hallmark of a goal-producing forward in any organization. The Devils find themselves again out of playoff contention and decisions need to be made not for the rest of the 2019-2020 season but for the future of the entire organization.
Where does Wayne Simmonds fit into the Devils future plans for rebuilding and does he fit in with this team at all?
After being with three teams in the past three seasons, Simmonds has shown that his career at this point boils down to him being a rental forward after going from Philadelphia to Nashville and now New Jersey.
The Vancouver Canucks certainly need a player like Simmonds right now and it may be worthy enough for the interim GM Tom Fitzgerald to look around the league to see what he can get for a Simmonds trade.
If the Devils can’t put together a winning season then at least they can make strives to put forth winning trades at the trade deadline to help them in the future.
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