The Wayne train will be rolling through Philadelphia for the next seven years.
That’s because the Flyers have signed forward Wayne Simmonds to a contract extension that will keep him as a Flyer through the 2018-19 season at a very palatable cap hit of $3.97 million.
Considering Simmonds scored 28 goals last season and finished with 49 points – both career highs – the Flyers wanted to lock him up as a key member of the young core of the team – Simmonds turns 24 a week from Sunday - as quickly as possible.
Both sides took a bit of a gamble in the deal, but that’s ultimately what makes it such a good agreement for both the Flyers and Simmonds.
“We are pleased to announce that we have agreed to a multi-year extension with Wayne Simmonds,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “Wayne plays the game with courage and honor and we believe he will continue to be a very good winger for our organization.”
The extension doesn’t kick in or affect the salary cap until the 2013-14 season. Simmonds will play the 2012-13 season on the final year of his old contract that has a salary cap hit of $1.75 million.
Simmonds came to the Flyers in June, 2011 along with Brayden Schenn in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings for Mike Richards.
Simmonds has 67 goals and 75 assists for 142 points in 322 career NHL games for the Kings and Flyers.
“Philadelphia has been a great place to me,” Simmonds said. “I signed this extension because I want to help bring a SC to Philly. I just want to be another piece of the puzzle. We have a great young core in place and this is where I want to be for a long time.”
Simmonds sacrificed his remaining restricted free agency years and even a few years of possible unrestricted free agency to sign this guaranteed contract.
“A deal came up where it was smart for me to take it to be part of the Flyers organization for a substantial amount of time and I jumped on it,” Simmonds said.
“I thought I had a pretty productive season last year. I didn’t know where I stood on the contract side. Homer came to us with a contract extension and I discussed it with my agent and the three of us all thought it was a good idea.”
Simmonds played the end of last season on the wing with Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn. Look for that trio to start training camp together assuming the roster remains the same.
The gritty power forward is being paid based on his production from last year, and now with the Jaromir Jagr and James van Riemsdyk playing elsewhere, Simmonds is going to have the spotlight shine on him even more when it comes to expected offensive production.
“I don’t feel pressure but I’m going to go out there and work as hard as I can every day and continue to progress as a player,” he said. “We certainly have the talent on our team. I think I can continually improve. I’m not going to put numbers on it, but I definitely think I’m going to get better the more I play.”