Philadelphia Flyers 2013-14 Year In Review: Wayne Simmonds

Rich Schultz

In three seasons as a Flyer, Wayne Simmonds has developed into a dominant power play threat and a capable middle-6 forward at even strength. Not to mention perhaps one of the most fun players to watch on the team.

Wayne Simmonds

Age: 25 (August 26, 1988)
Contract Status: $3.975 million per year through 2019

2013-14 Stats

GP TOI/GP Goals Assists Points
82 16:46 29 31 60
Corsi For Corsi Rel Quality of Comp. (TOI%) Zone Start % PDO
48.5% (8) -2.0% (8) 28.1% (9) 56.6% (4) 101.6% (2)

(Numbers in parentheses indicate descending rank among regular Flyers players at his position, i.e. one of the team's top eight defensemen or top 13 forwards.)

Most frequent forward lines

Linemates Goals For% Corsi For% OZ/DZ%
Brayden Schenn, Vincent Lecavalier 42.3% (+11 / -15) 44.2% 67.2%
Brayden Schenn, Scott Hartnell 70.6% (+12 / -5) 52.6% 62.3%
Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl 50.0% (+5 / -5) 55.8% 61.5%

He's probably your favorite hockey player

It's really hard to be disappointed in Wayne Simmonds.

That's for any number of reasons: He's generally a total bad ass, he's tailor-made to play hockey in Philadelphia with his grinding, wear-it-on-your-sleeve style of play, he's probably one of the most fun players to watch in the league, and as we've written in the past, he's perhaps the best net-front power play presence in the NHL.

Wayne Simmonds is utterly thriving in Philadelphia. His responsibilities have increased every season he's been here, as has his production.

More Wayne Train

His presence in front of the net on that first power play unit is a huge reason for its overall success. Simmonds was the third-best power play scorer in the league this season with 15 power play goals, behind just Joe Pavelski (16) and Alex Ovechkin (24). Simmonds played 227 fewer minutes overall this season on the PP than Ovechkin, and 252 total minutes fewer than Pavelski.

Yes, Simmonds has room to grow at even strength, but he still had 14 goals there this season -- just under half his overall goal total. It's no secret that Vincent Lecavalier dragged down the second line this year, and that includes Simmonds. Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn were his most frequent linemates on that second line, and that unit just got plain beaten most nights they hit the ice. Still, he had those 14 goals, and his results in less-frequent situations with Scott Hartnell or Michael Raffl on his line were much stronger.

Take Lecavalier off his line, factor in expected improvement with and from Brayden Schenn, and probably even more growth in terms of his power play presence (if that's possible) and Simmonds is shaping up to have plenty of upside left in his seventh NHL season and beyond.

Doin' it on the cheap

Not only is Simmonds continuing to grow as an NHL player, and not only is he a very good player already, he's also highly affordable. Let's just look at his contract and total production versus other 30 goal and/or 60 point players who are roughly his age.

Player Team Age G EVG PPG A P Cap hit Signed until...
Kyle Turris OTT 24 26 20 6 32 58 $3.5 million 2017-18
David Perron STL 25 28 20 8 29 57 $3.812 million 2015-16
Wayne Simmonds Flyers 25 29 14 15 31 60 $3.975 million 2018-19
Adam Henrique NJ 23 25 18 7 18 43 $4 million 2018-19
James van Riemsdyk TOR 25 30 21 9 31 61 $4.25 million 2017-18
Max Pacioretty MTL 25 39 29 10 21 60 $4.5 million 2018-19
Brad Marchand BOS 25 25 24 1 28 53 $4.5 million 2016-17
James Neal PIT 26 27 16 11 34 61 $5 million 2017-18
Jordan Eberle EDM 23 28 21 7 37 65 $6 million 2018-19

Six of the eight guys you could consider in Simmonds "class" are making more each season than he is, and Simmonds is signed at that friendly cap number for longer than most of these guys.

Long story short, the Flyers are getting a 25 (soon to be 26) year old 30 goal scorer for under $4 million per season, which is just a flat-out steal.

Preseason expectations

We did not write a season preview for Wayne Simmonds because we got lazy -- seriously, that's the reason -- but it's not hard to say he exceeded expectations. He's become a perennial 30 goal scorer the three seasons he's been a member of the Flyers, and when Holmgren acquired him in the Mike Richards trade, I'm sure any of us would have been happy with that.

Entering this past season, the first of his new contract, I think we were mostly afraid that the Flyers overpaid on a guy who had compiled one unreplicable career year. But that's not even close to the case, as we learned with yet another 30 goal season from Simmonds. He's become reliable for that output each season -- he had 15 goals in the lockout-shortened year -- despite plenty of room to grow as an even strength player.

Verdict

Simmonds isn't just living up to expectations: he's lifting them.

The great part about him still having that room to get better as an even strength player, too, is that the Flyers don't necessarily need him to be much more. He's not Max Pacioretty in Montreal or James van Riemsdyk in Toronto, where those teams need them to score plenty of even strength goals if they want to have a chance to win hockey games consistently.

He's not a top line guy in Philadelphia, but that's perfectly fine, because he's also not being paid like a top line guy. Simmonds is complimentary, middle-6 forward at even strength for the Flyers, meaning he'll have plenty of time to continue his growth there. We expect him to do so.

Meanwhile, he'll continue to casually dominate the crease area on the power play and frustrate opposing goaltenders while putting up 30 goals and 60 points each season. And we'll continue to sit back and enjoy.

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Wayne Simmonds's season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing and I want him out now", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".

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