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NHL trade deadline: The Flyers wouldn't trade Wayne Simmonds, would they?

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The NHL trade deadline is just a week away. Is Wayne Simmonds someone the Flyers should consider moving?

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Wayne Simmonds has emerged as a fan favorite through his hard-hitting, high-flying style of play. Not only that, he has become one of the league's best on the man advantage. Simmonds has scored 25 or more goals in each of his full seasons here, and is well on his way to surpassing that mark this season.

Simmonds seems to be one of those guys that you absolutely hate until you have him on your team, and for good reason. Wayne provides the toughness that fans love along with the ability to score goals and play in many different situations. He has proven that he is a dominant power play force, but he has been shuffled up and down the lineup and played well despite his linemates.

Paul Holmgren saw how valuable Simmonds was and locked him up to a six-year contract extension during the summer of 2012. Viewed as an overpayment at the time, his cap hit just under $4 million is one of the things that makes him a hot commodity if Ron Hextall was to shop him around.

Given the contract situation and the production that Simmonds provides, might it be time for the Flyers to load up on prospects and draft picks in a deep draft year?

The case for trading Simmonds

The first obvious reason to trade Simmonds would be to sell high. Mr. Train has picked up the pace recently with an eight-game point streak (six goals, four assists) and points in 11 of his last 12. He has eight goals and six assists in 12 games since the All-Star break. Wayne might not necessarily be at his peak this year or right this moment, but he will definitely be peaking within the next few years. Will the Flyers become a contender in that time? Who knows.

When it comes down to it, Simmonds might just be a one trick pony. He is great with the extra man but is only a second or third line guy at even strength. In the last two seasons combined over half of his goals (28 of 53) have come on the power play. He would be hard to replace on the man advantage, but his even strength production isn't fantastic.

Another reason to consider trading the 26 year old right wing is the depth of right wingers that the Flyers have. Jakub Voracek has proven this year that he belongs on the top line or the 2nd line at the very least. Matt Read has had a down year but is still a good 3rd line, decent 2nd line guy. Jason Akeson was up with the club earlier this season but was limited to 4th line minutes.The depth is there to replace Simmonds in the lineup if needed. You can't replace his production, but if you can trade Simmonds to upgrade defensively or for picks and prospects, then it might be worth it.

The case for keeping Simmonds

As mentioned previously, Wayne is an absolute machine on the power play. He leads the team, and is 3rd in the league with 13 power play goals this season. He doesn't score goals on the power play like league leader Alexander Ovechkin does, rather he attacks from the side of the net on rebounds and deflections. Almost a year ago Kurt wrote about how Simmonds might be the best net-front power play presence in the league, and that has only continued this season. Wayne is a rare breed that can rarely be replicated on the power play.

Heh, look at that, non-sarcastically thanking Holmgren for a contract

Simmonds has a very friendly contract thanks to Paul Holmgren. Heh, look at that, non-sarcastically thanking Holmgren for a contract. His cap hit of just under $4 million per year is a bargain compared to what some players (looking at you, David Clarkson and Ryan Clowe) have gotten in recent years. He is also locked up until the 2018-2019 season and will be 30 when his contract expires. The Flyers should be a playoff team, if not a top team, within the next three to four years. A great contract on a team that has a lot of cap issues can go a long way.

Ask any Flyers fan to name their top three favorite players and I can guarantee you that most of them will have Simmonds on their list. Wanting to keep a fan favorite on the team shouldn't be anything to sway the front office, but it is good enough of a reason to at least mention. After the summer of 2011, giving the fan base a sense of stability by building around a core of players can only be a good thing. Claude Giroux, Voracek and Sean Couturier are the main core of the Flyers, and Simmonds is right up there with them.

The verdict

The only way I can see Simmonds being traded before the deadline is if a team blows Hextall away with an offer. Simmonds' recent hot streak has definitely put himself on his opponent's radars, and maybe some other general managers' radars as well. There have been numerous teams rumored to have interest in Wayne in the past, and with the playoff race heating up it might be time for them to knock on Hextall's door one more time.

Keeping Simmonds for the near future would be in the best interest of the Flyers. Unless they flop during this road trip they will still have an outside shot at a playoff spot with the Bruins collapsing yet again.