Wayne Simmonds was traded to the Buffalo Sabres by the New Jersey Devils on Monday for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
"I think I bring some solid leadership to this group," Simmonds said Tuesday. "I play a physical game, and you look at the lineup, there's a lot of good skill players. I think I can complement these guys and hopefully help down the stretch here.
"The young talent on this team, I think they're going in the right direction and I thought that I could be a piece that could ultimately help this team get into the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]. I'm extremely excited to be here and I can't wait to get started."
If Simmonds plays in 10 regular-season games and the Sabres qualify for the playoffs, the selection becomes a fourth-round pick in 2021; New Jersey will retain 50 percent of Simmonds' salary.
"[I'm] excited about bringing in a veteran player such as Wayne Simmonds," Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said. "We've talked a lot about this group playing meaningful games. For Wayne, playing meaningful games in the month of March and April is something he's accustomed to. I think you've heard (coach) Ralph [Krueger] talk a lot about net-front presence, playing a physical game, and these are things that come natural for Wayne. We also know we have a young group, he has a strong personality. I think his leadership's going to help our group out a lot."
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The 31-year-old forward, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Devils on July 1, can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 61 games.
"Our understanding is there's no contract in the mix," Botterill said. "The focus right now is on what our plan was for the next few weeks here and what our focus was going to be today. You know our numbers, we certainly have openings at forward moving forward here and we're certainly going to have opportunities and roster spots available.
"I think that's what he's looking for; he's looking to play meaningful games and he's also looking for an opportunity if he plays well there might be a future. But our focus right now with Wayne is just what we have going on here right now."
The Sabres (29-25-8), who visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday (8 p.m., ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS), were six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.
"The decision really was on Wayne himself and wanting to get to the playoffs and give himself a chance to showcase himself in the playoffs and earn another contract," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said. "It was a desire of his to get back to the playoffs. That's not the case here. And he controlled it in some ways, because he had a no-trade for about eight teams and he waived it to try to get back to the playoffs."
Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (No. 61) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Simmonds has 498 points (251 goals, 247 assists) in 902 regular-season games with the Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators and Devils, and has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 44 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"We loved him in this room," Devils forward Kyle Palmieri said. "He was a veteran presence and a voice in this room that's going to be surely missed, and I think when you look back, I think he made all of us better teammates, better players on the ice, and there's not a ton of guys in the League you can say that about. It's sad to see him go, but it was pleasure getting to know him and an honor to play with him."
NHL.com staff writer Mike Morreale and independent contributer Heather Engel contributed to this report