614 regular season and playoff games after arriving in Philadelphia in the infamous Mike Richards trade, Wayne Simmonds’ time as a Flyer has come to an end.
Simmonds was traded today, about three minutes before the NHL trade deadline at 3:00 p.m., to the Nashville Predators, where he’ll get a chance to play with Peter Laviolette, the first coach he played with in Philadelphia. In exchange, the Flyers will be receiving forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2020 that will become a third-round pick if the Predators win a round in the playoffs.
Pending a trade call, Wayne Simmonds is headed to Nashville— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 25, 2019
NSH sends Ryan Hartman and a 2020 4th round pick to PHI. The fourth-round pick turns into a third if NASH wins one round of the playoffs.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 25, 2019
We’ll have some more thoughts on this trade — one that, at first glance, brings a return that feels ... underwhelming — in the near future, both reflecting on Simmonds’ time in orange and black as well as Hartman, the newest member of the Flyers. For now, we give a brief salute to a player who, for almost this entire decade, truly embodied what it meant to be a Philadelphia Flyer as well as anyone.
The writing regarding a potential Simmonds trade has been on the wall for a while now, ever since it became clear that the Flyers’ chances at making the playoffs this season had dwindled below the point of what could be considered realistic. With Simmonds set to hit unrestricted free agency this coming July, the idea of losing a guy who’s scored 29 goals per 82 games since arriving in Philadelphia and not getting anything in return would be tough for new general manager Chuck Fletcher to swallow.
He knew it. We all knew it, since we’ve been hearing rumors about Simmonds in trade talks for much of the season. And not least of all, the Flyers’ players knew it. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek — the two guys who, along with Simmonds, will likely define this decade of Flyers hockey — gave Simmonds what amounted to a sendoff on Saturday night following the Stadium Series game, handing him the player of the game helmet in honor of everything he’s done with this team:
"Keep making this push and keep our hopes alive and our dreams alive."— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 24, 2019
After a thrilling #StadiumSeries win on Saturday night, the #Flyers locker room had an emotional Helmet hand-off. pic.twitter.com/ZT9kOTwinh
The respect that the guys in that locker room have for Simmonds, even this season as his performance on the ice this year hasn’t quite stacked up to where it’s been for much of his Flyers career, is quite clear. For 614 games, Simmonds gave nothing less than everything he had in him for this team, and everyone who watched him in that time took notice of that.
It’s been more fun than we can adequately put into words to see Simmonds turn into what he has. Looked at as the secondary piece in that Richards trade that brought him and Brayden Schenn to Philadelphia back in June 2011, Simmonds went from an interesting young winger that was clearly a tough, badass hockey player to ... a slightly older winger that was clearly a tough, badass hockey player, but was also a legitimately talented player who established himself as the best power-play goal scorer in the NHL not named Alex Ovechkin.
There was no puck he wouldn’t fight for, no player he wouldn’t fight with, and no game he wouldn’t fight on in. Giving him one of the assistant captaincy roles prior to the 2014-15 season was the most obvious decision anyone in the Wells Fargo Center had to make this decade, and he’ll be missed in that locker room.
"Ultimate warrior. Best teammate."— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) February 24, 2019
- Claude Giroux on Wayne Simmonds pic.twitter.com/VXyyIka2un
Just like he’ll be missed by all of us. Again, we’ll have more thoughts on Wayne’s career as a Flyer soon, as well as some thoughts on Ryan Hartman. Otherwise, it looks like we’re Predators fans for the next few months.