Let me preface this by saying that this could be completely insignificant if there is no season so the CBA negotiations do cast as a shadow over this otherwise positive signing for the Flyers. Simmer was unbelievably impressive in his first season with the Flyers. He broke personal records in goals (28) and points (49). His grit was much appreciated by fans as well. He was a sparkplug. And tough as they come. Who could forget when he scored off a re-direction from his face?
Simmer this season showed great signs towards becoming a legitimate power forward in this league. And he’s only 23. I think Scott Hartnell would be a good person to compare him to. The gritty power forward type. There is nothing pretty about the goals these types of guys score, but they do score them often and that’s why there extremely important to their teams. The Bobby Ryan rumors were odd because of guys like Simmonds and Hartnell being already locked up. Power forwards are an intricate part of the club, but there is a limit to the amount of roster spots you should spend on them. The Flyers currently employ 2 of the best in the league (and Simmonds is just getting started). It is not really necessary to add any more and would ignore other needs.
Simmonds pushed the 30 goal mark last season and I think with an expanded role this season he will break it. Simmonds was an absolute force on the powerplay last season potting 11 pp goals. His previous season high for powerplay goals was 2. With Jagr out he will no doubt see even more powerplay time as it seems to be his niche.
In regards to his comparison to Hartnell I also believe the Flyers are looking to replace Hartnell with Simmonds if necessary. Birddog’s contract is up after next season and Simmer getting extended before him makes me think the Flyers are on a wait and see basis in regards to a possible Hartnell extension. Hartnell does bring a lot to the Flyers as he is a firestarter as well as a point producer. A rare combinaton. His powerplay production last season was phenomenal as he closed out the season second in the league in powerplay goals. Hartnell has not been without his flaws though. He has been known throughout his tenure as a Flyer to take awful and pointless penalties. He has also drawn quite a few. His slumps also are epic. Nothing goes right for him. I’m sure the Flyers will want to keep Hartsy as he has great relationships with a lot of guys on the team and works well with the best player on the team. Hartnell statistically has always been a very good passer. He has eclipsed the 30 assist mark 3 times in his career, but he reallt flourishes playing with G. That will be the number 1 reason the Flyers try to keep him, but if the money doesn’t make sense they will be looking to Simmonds to replace Hartnell.
I hope that Homer does not keep up his trend of trading players almost immediately after signing them to contract extensions. Simmonds can be a very useful player for the Flyers for years to come. If I were the Flyers I would want to keep Simmonds and Hartnell as they are powerplay goal machines. Having a guy like Hartnell and Simmonds on each powerplay unit is an unbelievable advantage for them. They are 2 guys with a nose for the net. That is not to say that if it is put on Simmonds I believe he could fill Hartnell’s shoes and possibly do even better.