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NHL Trade Deadline: Do you want the IDEA of Wayne Simmonds? Or the actual PLAYER?

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Wanting something and having it are two very different things. And Wayne Simmonds: Boston Bruin could very easily prove to be better as an idea than as a reality.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Philadelphia Flyers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

You ever want something really badly? Like a toy, a new piece of sports equipment, or a video game? You remember what that was like as a kid, right? The advertising hooked you, the jingle stuck in your mind, and you dreamed about being like that kid in the commercial. You could knock over a bunch of styrofoam cups with the laser. You could make Voltron. You could score the Stanley Cup-winning goal. All of this could be done just with this one thing. And you wanted this more than anything else in the world.

...and then you got it. And while the excitement was there, you suddenly realized that there were little things you weren’t expecting. The ball-joints in the figure were stiff and didn’t move like they did in the commercial. You still had to tape up the stick or inflate the ball and you learned a lesson about your own skillset. Suddenly that thing you wanted...seemed small. Maybe even a little disappointing.

...you get where I’m going with this?

How did we get here?

The Flyers are bad and people are still buying what the advertising is selling.

Well, okay...that isn’t entirely fair; Philly’s not as bad as they were prior to December, they’ve definitely picked up their game so they’re no longer in the basement of the Eastern Conference. Which unfortunately means they’re also not really that close to getting Jack Hughes. Carter Hart has made the concept of a good Flyers team possible maybe in the not-too-distant future, but in order to do that, the Flyers need to start getting serious about signing some of the upcoming RFAs that’ll be populating their lineup in the near future as well as maybe go out and get one of the big free agents that’ll be coming up in the spring/summer. And that means they have to look at their own upcoming free agents.

Wayne Simmonds, at 30, presents a unique opportunity for the Flyers in trying times, as they know any team that’s even sort of wanted him will throw a king’s ransom in the general direction of Broad Street for him, and they will recoup assets in order to finally get their young core some support. Losing him for nothing would be bad, and utterly foolish considering how hard many teams and even guys like Pierre LeBrun have lobbied for him to go to a different team.

And supposedly, there are plenty of teams willing to take him.

So, what are you getting on the surface?

Literally the exact kind of guy people who have at least a casual understanding (read: starts watching after the Super Bowl) of hockey associate Boston Bruins hockey with, for good and for ill: a power forward winger who uses his physicality to create space and scoring opportunities as a rental, and a guy who’s game seemingly is a match made in heaven with the rough and tumble Boston Bruins.

Under The Hood:

I’ll be nice with this: you’re not getting Wayne Simmonds at his best. His best was a couple years back and that guy has gone off into the desert, never to return.

You’re getting Wayne Simmonds of 2019, who appears to be teetering dangerously towards a very familiar cliff of ruthless regression.

Except when he goes it’s gonna be a lot faster and a lot harder. And probably a whole lot sooner than anyone would care to admit. Some might say it’s already happening now. Simmonds’ impact as a Flyer has been slowly diminishing with time and it’s reached a head where it took me awhile to actually find someone who was comparable on the Bruins to his impact on the ice, and even then it made Simmonds look bad. Some of that could be attributed to playing on the Flyers, but c’mon...his most common teammate is usually someone like Nolan Patrick or Sean Couturier. You should be at least slightly better if Coots is your center, right?

Well...:

This would’ve been one with Simmonds vs. Marchand or Simmonds vs. Backes, but that was so pointlessly cruel and such a blowout in both Brad and David’s favor I decided to just drop down to DeBrusk.
Evolving-Hockey.com
It’s probably not a good thing when even Sean Couturier suddenly gets more creative with you off the ice.
Hockeyviz.com

Look, he’s still productive. He still has all the skills that made him so attractive to fans in the first place...but by this point, he’s looking more and more like a dude whose hard miles as the big, tough scoring winger have done his in-game results some harm.

The Case For:

  • The Bruins get a guy everyone loves: Nobody works harder, stands up for his team more, and in general plays the kind of hockey that fans love. If absolutely nothing else, he will become 7th player by sheer force of will.
  • He’s still a power play weapon: Third on the Flyers in power play goals. On a man advantage like Boston’s? He could rebound from his slumping season pretty hard.
  • He’d be a rental: Nobody’s committing to anything other than a long playoff run and maybe Wayne Simmonds’ name on Lord Stanley. Once that’s over, he can go make a jillion dollars with whoever he wants.

The Case Against:

  • He will be expensive: Any article regarding a name talent I write will have that caveat. The Flyers are butt, and they want to not be butt by next year if at all possible. They will happily take whatever young player you want and however many firsts you can chuck at them just to get Simmonds. Considering how protective of the young roster players the Boston Bruins are, and especially of their first round pick, it would be a very hard sell unless you were willing to move a guy like Vaakanainen, to say nothing of the salary you’ll have to finagle around to make him work.
  • You aren’t the only one shopping: Furthermore, you’re also not the only one who thinks “X team and Wayne Simmonds is a match made in heaven!” People love Wayne Simmonds. GMs, teams, fans, and players like the guy. The price for Simmonds will not just be inflated by name recognition, but by the fact that Simmonds is in-demand.
  • You’re ignoring a lot of red flags and betting on him just going through a down year and not regressing hard: If guys like Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick and even Claude Giroux can’t summon the same 40-50 point performance out of him that he’s been expected to give year in, year out, then this is probably his point of regression. He should be way closer to or well over 30 points right now. There is a pointed drop-off for most guys like him and you really don’t want to be the guy who ends up finding out “Oh...Coots and Giroux and Nolan Patrick were keeping the bad part of him from spilling out.”

Because then you just spent an awful lot on almost nothing and boy would that be bad.

Personally Speaking?

Just...don’t. There are plenty of more impactful wingers out there that will cost way less, and if a bigger name appears, then there’s even less reason to go after a guy who may look great in a Bruins uniform, but may not produce in a Bruins uniform and all signs point to a guy who is on the back nine.

Which leads to the headline: You want the idea of Wayne Simmonds. Not the reality. Not actual, factual 2019 Wayne Simmonds. You want the dude who fights and hits Penguins players so hard they lose their helmets. Not the dude who’s body is giving out on him and his production’s falling off.

So just watch the ads, maybe check it out at a friends place...but don’t let your high expectations run wild. Don’t let Wayne Simmonds become the voltron figure. Or the CCM stick that broke too early.

Don’t let him become David Backes. Or Rick Nash, if you prefer a more recent example. Let Wayne Simmonds: Boston Bruin exist in a place where he might actually thrive; your imagination.

Poll

Should the Bruins go for Wayne Simmonds?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Let’s get him, he’d still look great in a Bruins uniform and he plays the way any Bruin should! Red Flags Schmed Flags!
    (65 votes)
  • 42%
    He’s too expensive, looking like he’s on the downslope, and he’s not even better than Jake DeBrusk? No thanks. Look somewhere else.
    (259 votes)
  • 46%
    WHY HAVEN’T THEY GOTTEN MARK STONE YET!?
    (282 votes)
606 votes total Vote Now