Hartnell and Simmonds are locked up for the next 6 years and they will no doubt be a thorn in the side of every team they line up against for all 6 of those years. The two grinding forwards are both quintessential Philly guys. Their style of play is raw, but they both have discernible skill. They have just the right combination of agitation, toughness and skill. Every championship caliber team has guys like this.
Hartnell and Simmonds both had career years last year in terms of point production. They both really stepped up the goal scoring part of their games as they had career highs in that total also. Hartnell notched 37 and Simmonds potted 28. Even if Hartnell’s totals don’t get that high again I believe Simmonds will make up for it. I believe Simmonds can be a 30 goal scorer which will balance out if Hartnell doesn’t net quite as many in the coming years. The thing is though I don’t see why Hartnell’s goal production would drop off when he’s playing with the passing guru that is G. Hartnell can pound the puck home when he gets the chance so a guy like G is a perfect match for him because he’ll get plenty of chances to do so. Birddog isn’t exactly a do it yourself type player. He needs some help to be truly effective. As does Simmonds. What is great about them is that when given help they can chip in a significant amount of points.
The powerplay was the moneymaker for Simmonds and Hartnell last year. They cashed in early and often notching 27 powerplay goals combined. Birddog had 16 while Simmonds chipped in 11. Hartnell hung in the top of the pp goal rankings all season long. The two combined for what Bill Clement called the high-low screen where Simmonds stood in the far outer crease area while Hartnell crowded the goalie standing just outside of the actual crease. They are great around the net and there are plenty of other talented players on the roster to get them the puck around it.
The best aspect about the signing is that Simmonds and Hartnell left money on the table (unless the owners get their way in the current CBA negotiations) to play in Philly. If either of these guys tested free agency they would no doubt find $6 to $6.5 million dollar a year offers at their doorstep. Hartnell’s cap hit is $4.7 million once the new contract kicks in and Simmond’s cap hit will be $3.9 million. They are hot commodities and they stayed here on the cheap. There are teams that can barely hit the cap floor who would pay on the upwards of $6.5 to $7 million for Scott Hartnell and Simmonds could easily clear $5 million. It’s just a great pride when you know that your city, your team is respected enough to have players, in this day and age, turn down the possibility of more money to stay in this city for a long time.