Flyers, Simmonds agree to 6-year extension
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While a sense of tension reigns over the entire National Hockey League, which is facing a lockout one month before training camp opens, the Flyers continue to look ahead.
Lanky forward Wayne Simmonds agreed to a six-year contract extension in excess of $23 million late Wednesday night. The extension kicks in for 2013-14.
“I thought I had a pretty productive season last year,” said Simmonds, who had 28 goals. “Coming into the summer, I talked to Homer [general manager Paul Holmgren] a little bit.
“Obviously, I was going into the season planning on doing well. When Homer came to us with the extension, I spoke with my agent [Eustace King], and the three of us thought it was a great idea.”
The deal is worth $23.82 million – a $3.97 million cap hit. Simmonds’ cap hit for this coming season (if played) is $1.75 million.
If you look at the young players on this team, you see Jakub Voracek ($4.35 million) and Simmonds (next year) each have higher cap hits than Claude Giroux.
However, Giroux’s deal is up after 2012-13 and he will be highly compensated. It makes sense for the Flyers to extend him this year instead of waiting.
That the Flyers signed Simmonds for six years was interesting because they apparently want to lock up their players longer than what the next CBA may allow. The league would like to see no deals beyond five years in the next contract.
“Philadelphia has been a great place for me,” Simmonds said. “I signed this extension hoping that we could bring a Stanley Cup to Philadelphia."
Simmonds later said on Thursday night that he realized he was forfeiting unrestricted free agency down the road (age 27), but he wanted to secure his future here in Philadelphia.
“I just want to be another piece of the puzzle," Simmonds said. "I think we have a great, young core in place. This is where I want to be for a long time.”
Simmonds was part of the package from Los Angeles in the Mike Richards trade of June 2011 that also brought Schenn here.
His physical style made him a fan favorite, while his impact was noticeable. He plays above his 6-foot-2 size and had a career year in goals and points (49), while playing in all 82 games.
Simmonds played nearly the entire season with Danny Briere as his center. The other wings shifted around: mostly James van Riemsdyk, Matt Read or Schenn.
He fared best with Schenn, scoring nine goals. He tallied four goals with JVR and six with Read.
“I played on every single line last year,” Simmonds said. “The way [coach Peter] Laviolette runs it, if you’re not working, he is going to switch it up.
“I think the last quarter of the season, I played the majority with Schenner and Danny and had a good time playing on that line. I thought we were successful. I’m willing to play wherever Lavy puts me.”
Given Jarmoir Jagr’s signing with Dallas in free agency, the Flyers need to find other players to make up the 54 points the big Czech right wing gave them. More pressure on Simmonds to do that?
“I don’t feel pressure, but obviously, I am going to go out there and work as hard as I can every day, whether it’s on the ice or off the ice,” Simmonds replied. “I think I’m going to progress as a player.”
The next step would be to leap into the 35-goal range.
“That would be nice,” Simmonds said. “We certainly have the talent on our team. Honestly, I don’t think it matters who you play with on our team. Everyone is great. We have four great centers and we’re surrounded by talent.
“I think I’m going to improve. I’m not going to put numbers on it, but I definitely think I am going to get better as an all-around player. I’ll definitely work toward that.” E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org