Wayne Simmonds agreed to terms on a one-year, $5 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on Monday.
The 30-year-old forward had 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) in 79 regular-season games with the Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers last season, including three points (one goal, two assists) in 17 games after he was traded to Nashville on Feb. 25 for forward Ryan Hartman and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
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Simmonds had no points in two Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"I want to help the Devils win," Simmonds said. "That's the most important part, to come in and create a winning culture and just help the team win. For myself, I expect to score goals like I did in the past. I think last year was not the way I'm trending, but it was a down year for me with all the injuries. I'm excited and ready to go and grateful for this opportunity."
Simmonds had surgery May 1, 2018 to repair a pelvis tear on his right side and a torn abdominal muscle on his left side. He also missed the Predators final three playoff games after being hit in the knee with a shot during Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Dallas Stars.
"When you have (pelvis and groin) surgery like that they tell you to take 9-12 months to recover," Simmonds said. "It's safe to say it kind of hurt me a little bit last year but at the same time I'm going to continue to play hockey to help my team. Last year, from those surgeries I didn't get a lot of time to train in the summer and the summer was spent primarily rehabbing so there were a lot of ups and downs last year. I've already been in the gym for six weeks this year so it's going to be a big change and I'm just looking forward to proving everybody wrong to be honest with you."
Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (No. 61) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Simmonds has 474 points (243 goals, 231 assists) in 841 regular-season games with the Predators, Flyers and Kings. He has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 44 playoff games.
Simmonds scored at least 24 goals in each of his six full NHL seasons from 2011-18. His 91 power-play goals since 2011-12 are third among all players, behind Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (149) and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (95).
"I play net-front on the power play and played there the past nine years and that was important to getting that spot back," Simmonds said. "As a veteran player I know things change in a lineup whether you're going or not going, so that's not exactly for me to say as that's up to [coach John Hynes]. But I visualize myself in a top-six role for sure."
Simmonds also hopes to lend his experience to a locker room that will have two of the last three No. 1 picks in the NHL Draft, centers Nico Hischier (2017) and Jack Hughes (2019). He was an alternate captain his final five seasons with Philadelphia.
"I think that's extremely important to be a voice and a leader in the dressing room," Simmonds said. "I'm going into my 12th year in the NHL and you know, that should be something that comes natural to me. I think first and foremost it starts with how hard you are working, personally, and then from there you can go and say different things to people and what not, but with all the young players you have to help them out, guide them and kind of show them the ropes a little bit."
NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale contributed to this report