The Predators acquired Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers the day of the trade deadline in exchange for Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round draft pick. While this wasn’t a trade that set off fireworks in Smashville, it made sense on paper.
With a struggling team power play, it seemed like a wise move to bring in someone with Simmonds’s power play experience. Coach Laviolette’s familiarity with Simmonds from their days together in Philly made him a known quantity. Simmonds has had four 20-goal seasons, so a little offensive bump seemed possible. With the trade deadline falling while Austin Watson was unavailable to the team, Simmonds’s well-known physicality probably appealed to management as a way to make sure the team had someone to play with an edge.
Simmonds played 17 games for the Predators and ended the regular season with three points—one goal and two assists. He averaged 12:27 TOI, with seven blocks, 24 hits and 21 shots on goal.
While Simmonds’s physicality was a nice selling point, I still found his goal against the Maple Leafs to be his best moment. This is just textbook beautiful hockey.
Unfortunately Simmonds’s playoffs ended in Game 2 against the Dallas Stars when he took a Josi shot to the knee. Would his presence have made a difference further on in the series? When the team traded for Simmonds I think we were all desperate enough to believe anyone could improve the team in the playoffs. We didn’t get a chance to test that with Simmonds in the end.
Our time with the Wayne Train was short but left me wishing for more. As the recipient of the 2019 Mark Messier Leadership Award, Simmonds is a guy you want wearing your jersey. Unfortunately the Train has left the station, signing with the NJ Devils for a one-year, $5 million contract.
How would you grade Wayne Simmonds’s time with the Predators?
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