Wayne Simmonds has been everything you could ask for and more in a role player. He has quickly become a fan favorite since arriving in Philadelphia in the 2011 blockbuster trade with the Kings. This past offseason, the trading of Scott Hartnell left an alternate captain vacancy. Simmonds was chosen to replace Hartnell, and he has definitely earned it.
The 26-year-old has a knack for scoring, even if it is not always pretty. He leads the team in goals with 24, good for 11th best in the NHL. Many of these goals have come on the power-play, where the gritty right winger plants himself in front of the opposing net, deflecting in pucks and wreaking havoc. His board play and strength on the puck makes him a tough physical matchup for defensemen. Riding an eight-game point streak and scoring three goals in his last five games, the Wayne Train is on pace for the first 30-goal season of his career.
Some make the case that trading Simmonds at the deadline makes sense from a sell-high perspective. While he might only be a second liner at best and is not flashy, he does play a pivotal part in the chemistry of this team. His leadership qualities and power-play mastery have been a key to the recent playoff push. He has provided scoring help at a time where the first line has struggled to produce at the level it was during the first half of the season. Many players hit a ceiling when they are at the peak of their prime, but Simmonds has actually increased his goal totals over the past three seasons. When his contract expires in 2018-19, he will only be 30. He could very well fall off by then, but his production right now outweighs that possibility.
If the Flyers want to remain a playoff contender in the near future, they will need Simmonds to continue to his successful play.