The Philadelphia Flyers finally found a positive this off-season, signing young forward Wayne Simmonds to a six-year contract extension Wednesday night. Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia reported that Simmonds will earn 23.82 million over the six year deal, with an annual cap hit of 3.97 million. Simmonds played an integral role for the Flyers last year following the departure of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Flyers General Manager, Paul Holmgren announced the extension on Thursday. “We are pleased to announce that we have agreed to a multi-year extension with Wayne Simmonds.” Holmgren added, “Wayne plays the game with courage and honor and we believe he will continue to be a very good winger for our organization.”
Simmonds, 23, set career highs with 28 goals and 49 points during his first year with the Flyers. He earned time on the first power play unit, often positioning himself in front of the net giving him chances for deflection goals and rebound opportunities. He played alongside Danny Briere and the second piece of the Mike Richards trade, young forward Brayden Schenn for the majority of the 2011-2012 season.
He talked about his production on a conference call on Thursday. “I thought I had a pretty productive season last year, but coming into the summer I didn’t know exactly where I stood or what would happen. I talked to Homer [Flyers GM Paul Holmgren] a little bit, but I still wasn’t sure on the contract front. … When Homer came to us with the contract extension, the three of us [Holmgren, Simmonds and Simmonds' agent] thought it was a good idea.”
“I played on every single line last year,” Simmonds stated. “The way Lavi [coach Peter Laviolette] did it was if you weren’t working he’d switch it up. The last quarter of the season I played the majority with Schenner and Danny and I had a good time playing on that line. I thought we were successful [but] I’m willing to play wherever Lavi puts me.”
Simmonds was thrilled to get the deal done. “I’m extremely happy to have this deal in place.” Simmonds stated, “We’re going to have a good team in Philly for a long time and I just wanted to be able to be a part of hopefully bringing a championship back to the Philly faithful.”
Simmonds will look to continue his growth during his second season in Philadelphia. His net presence and physical play are assets the Flyers clearly value. He should remain on the top power play unit and his offensive game will continue to evolve in the years to come.
Simmonds stated he believes the Flyers a cup contender. “I singed this extension hoping we can bring a Stanley Cup to Philadelphia. I just want to be another piece of the puzzle. I think we’ve got a great young core put in place. This is where I want to be for a long time.”