DALLAS — Wayne Simmonds’ name is swirling in trade rumors, but the high-scoring right winger wants to remain with the Flyers.
“He’s always wanted to be in Philly,” Simmonds’ agent, Eustace King, said Thursday; King is in Dallas for this weekend’s NHL draft. “He’s a key contributor to this team, and he has a lot of pride in being a Flyer.”
Simmonds, who will turn 30 on Aug. 26, has one year left on a contract that has a team-friendly $3.975 million annual cap hit. But trade rumors have swirled because he is due for a big raise after next season.
The Flyers have not yet had talks with King about a contract extension, but general manager Ron Hextall and the agent are expected to meet this weekend. King called it a “status update.”
If the Flyers deal Simmonds, they would probably try to get a first-round pick and a quality prospect in return. Simmonds, who averaged 30 goals in his four seasons before 2017-18, has a limited no-trade clause and can be dealt to 18 of the 30 teams, excluding the Flyers.
“They’re going to do what they’re going to do, and all he can do is be prepared to play,” King said.
Despite a long list of injuries last season that limited his mobility, Simmonds still managed 24 goals, and he is regarded as one of the Flyers’ top leaders. He recently underwent core-muscle surgery, but Hextall said Simmonds will be 100 percent when the season starts.
Other teams’ general managers, mindful it took Claude Giroux almost a full year to regain his form after a similar surgery, might be a bit more skeptical.
When healthy, Simmonds is one of the NHL’s elite power forwards. In addition, he was one of three finalists for the NHL’s Mark Messier Leadership Award, which was won by Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland on Wednesday.