February 16, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) is checked by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr (24) after scoring goal during the 2nd period of a game at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

An Expanded Role For Simmer

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Big Wayne Simmonds had a monster year last season. He pushed his play to a new level and his grittiness and general toughness have made him an immediate fan favorite in Philly. Wayne blew away his career high in goals with 28 and points with 49. His big body came in plenty useful on the pp this year as it is nice for the Flyers to have more than 1 true power forward on the team now (the other being Hartnell). He potted 11 goals of his 28 on the pp. Were still hoping for JVR to develop into a power forward as well. That would be a very deadly tandem of power forwards if JVR does develop into one. He finished the season with a full stat line of 28/21/49. He topped he previous career high in points by 9 and played in all 82 regular season games and all 11 playoff games. He showed last season that he is growing into a solid NHL power forward and is young (23) thus able to stay healthy throughout the grueling NHL season. This was also just Simmer’s 4th year in the big league so I would say from a statistical standpoint he is right where he should be at this point in his career and is progressing nicely from year to year. He received more responsibility last season than he ever had especially on the pp, where he was buried in the extremely deep and high paid list of forwards in LA. He handled the added pressure admirably by posting those career numbers and I believe he will top them next season.

Simmer’s physicality also gave the Flyers a big boost this year. He had some great fights and when he gets free swinging he can really throw them. He had 114 penalty minutes last season with 10 fighting majors included in that number.In his 10 recorded fights he had a record of  5-4-1 according to hockeyfights.com. His reach is unbelievable. He can simply grab the sweater cock back and throw ‘em while the other fighter is left swinging at the air. I expect we’ll see quite a few more great slugfests from Simmer next season as well.

The only thing that I look for Wayne to really improve on next season is his playoff performance. He struggled scoring goals with only 1 in 11 games and just 6 points overall. He seemed to be gripping his stick a little too tight as he missed some wide open nets in the Pens series. He hit a slump at a bad time you could say, but historically he has not played well in the second season. He has a total of 12 points in 23 NHL playoff games. Just about a .50 ppg in the playoffs. He will need to bring that number up if the Flyers are going to win a Cup next season as the teams that succeed in getting the ultimate goal are stacked with playoff performers.

-John LaMarra

Twitter – @popesnipes77

E-Mail – [email protected]

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