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NHL Trade Buzz: Flyers show patience before making decision on Simmonds

Ducks weigh options with Silfverberg; Golden Knights take injuries into account ahead of Deadline

by Shawn Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 16 days remaining until the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET and the buzz is picking up. Will the Anaheim Ducks sign or trade forward Jakob Silfverberg? What are the Golden Knights planning as an encore to last season's all-in approach to the deadline?

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

Philadelphia Flyers

Making a decision on Wayne Simmonds remains a top priority for the Flyers as the trade deadline approaches.

The 30-year-old forward is in the last season of a six-year contract with an average annual value of $3.975 million and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. 

If he is not signed to a new contract, he could be traded before Feb. 25.

General manager Chuck Fletcher said Saturday that he is working to address Simmonds' future.

"Two weeks is a lifetime before the trade deadline," Fletcher said, speaking after making a trade that landed defenseman David Schlemko and forward Byron Froese from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Dale Weise and defenseman Christian Folin.

"Wayne has played hard and he's played very well of late. I can't commend him enough on his professionalism, on his attitude. You watch him in celebrations after games and he is pretty much the first guy out there to congratulate [goalies] Carter [Hart] or Anthony [Stolarz], as the case may be. He's just a great teammate and has done a lot for this franchise. We'll try to work on a conclusion that works best for everybody."

Fletcher has not said if a contract offer has been made to Simmonds, who has 16 goals, tied for second on the Flyers with Claude Giroux. Sean Couturier has 22. 

Simmonds has 468 points (242 goals, 226 assists) in 816 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings and the Flyers, who acquired him in a trade on June 23, 2011.

With the Flyers, Simmonds has 91 power-play goals, second among all players since the 2011-12 season to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (141). Simmonds has scored 20 goals or more six times, including an NHL career-high 32 in 2015-16.

Fletcher, hired Dec. 3 to replace Ron Hextall, also said that the recent eight-game winning streak, which ended with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, has not changed the way he is looking at the trade deadline.

The Flyers (24-23-7, 55 points) are eight points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Fletcher said on Jan. 28 that the Flyers could be buyers and sellers at the deadline. He still believes that to be the case. 

"I don't think it has changed it at all," Fletcher said of the Flyers' climb up the standings. "We are trying to win every game. I think it is really important that we start to build the right habits. Everything we do is about building not only for now but next year too. To be better next year, we have to be better this year too."

-- NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Adam Kimelman contributed to this report

 

Anaheim Ducks

Jakob Silfverberg knows he has value to the struggling Ducks at the trade deadline as a potential rental asset, but the winger wants to stay in Anaheim if possible.

The Ducks (21-25-9, 51 points) have lost six straight games and have an NHL-worst minus-51 goal differential. Yet, they are only four points behind the St. Louis Blues, who occupy the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. St. Louis has played three fewer games than the Ducks, however. Plus, Anaheim would have to pass six teams in its final 27 games to get into a playoff spot.

"I know when things are going this way, you know that things can change. But obviously I think as far as the contract, I think both me and [GM] Bob [Murray] know where I stand," Silfverberg told the Athletic on Friday. "I said it. I want to stay. I like it here. But at the same time, you got to respect the [decision] when things aren't going our way.

"So, you never know. I guess we'll find out in a week or two or however long it is."

Tweet from @icemancometh: Jakob Silfverberg has become a fixture with #NHLDucks. He could remain that. Or he could be heading elsewhere at the trade deadline. Either is very possible.https://t.co/tJtX5BLK3E

According to the Athletic, Silfverberg's agent and Murray have had talks about signing Silfverberg to a new contract before the 28-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

If the Ducks decide on a rebuild, Silfverberg will be a valuable chip, one that could net a handsome return in a trade.

By way of comparison, 34-year-old forward Brian Boyle was traded Wednesday from the New Jersey Devils to the Nashville Predators for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Boyle has reached the 20-goal mark once (21 in 2010-11) and never scored more than 35 points (also in 2010-11), so the return would likely be higher for Silfverberg who is younger and could slot into a top-nine role on most contenders. 

Silfverberg has 20 points and his 12 goals are most on the Ducks. He has averaged 20 goals per season during the previous three full seasons and has 229 points (105 goals, 124 assists) in 465 NHL games.

He also plays in all game situations and has two power-play goals and two shorthanded goals this season.

Silfverberg knows the next pressure point in the negotiations will come before Feb. 25. If he has not signed a new deal by then, it is likely he will be traded. Until then, he says he needs to remain focused on playing well.

"At this point, I'm just taking it day by day and I'm trying to help this team improve and try to improve myself," he said. "I don't put too much thought on that contract stuff."

 

Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights found themselves in a unique position last season, exceeding expectations and emerging as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender during their inaugural season.

As a result, Vegas went all-in, making trades for forwards Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar before the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline.

Reaves had a positive impact, adding size and physicality to the fourth line. He also scored the game-winning goal in the decisive Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Winnipeg Jets and the third-period tying goal in the 6-4 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Video: NJD@VGK: Reaves capitalizes on strong forecheck

Tatar did not have as much success, never finding his footing after arriving from the Detroit Red Wings. He had six points (four goals, two assists) in 20 regular season games with Vegas and two points (one goal, one assist) in eight playoff games before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens on Sept. 10 as part of a package for forward Max Pacioretty.

The play of Reaves and Tatar shows the unpredictable nature of dealing at the deadline.

So, do the Golden Knights have an encore planned for the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline?

That remains unclear. General manager George McPhee told NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika on Friday that he thinks the Golden Knights will be a good team if they can get healthy. 

"You try not to make excuses, and it's next man up," McPhee said. "It has been a more difficult year to evaluate. But we think we know what we are, and when everyone in the lineup is working as hard as they should, we're a pretty solid team. 

"We'd love to see what this team looks like with everybody in. We might get that chance. We might not."

Golden Knights defenseman Nick Holden and forwards William Carrier and Erik Haula are on injured reserve.

McPhee also must decide if "pretty solid" is good enough in the Western Conference, which features some of the best teams in the League, including the Calgary Flames, the Winnipeg Jets, the San Jose Sharks and the Nashville Predators. 

Vegas (31-21-4, 66 points) is third in the Pacific Division and would likely draw either the Calgary Flames (34-15-5, 73 points) or San Jose Sharks (32-16-7, 71 points) in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Could the Golden Knights use some help down the stretch and in the postseason, particularly on offense? Yes. Will McPhee be aggressive as he was last season, or during his tenure as the general manager of the Capitals from 1997-2014? That remains unclear.

Asked if he would be more careful about trading assets, McPhee said: "Depends. It's ammunition, and we'll do what's prudent for the club for the short term and the long term. If there's a way to improve the club, as every manager will say, we'll do it. But the price has to make sense to us."

 

[RELATED: NHL Trade Buzz: Panarin free agent comments add to Blue Jackets intrigue]

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