Back in the summer of 2011 when then-Philadelphia Flyers general manager, Paul Holmgren, traded Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings, Brayden Schenn was believed to be the prized player of the trade coming back to Philly, while Wayne Simmonds was just the throw-in. At the time, Schenn was believed to be the best player not in the NHL full-time and Simmonds had a career high 40 points and 16 goals for the Kings in his first three seasons. Fast forward almost six years, and Simmonds has blossomed into one of the best power forwards in the NHL.
— NHL (@NHL) January 27, 2017
On Sunday afternoon, Simmonds proved why he is one of the best power forwards in the league by scoring three goals, including the game-winner, in the NHL All-Star Game, as well as earning the All-Star MVP.
That is something I never expected to hear Simmonds be called when the Flyers traded for him.
Ever since joining the Flyers, Simmonds has scored at least 28 goals in each full season – not including the lockout shortened season in which he scored 15 – and eclipsed the 30-goal mark for the first time last year with 32 goals. This year, Simmonds has scored 21 goals in 50 games, which puts him well on pace for over 30 goals. While Schenn has been no slouch for the Flyers, it seems like Simmonds is the player that the Flyers hit on with the Richards trade.
Not only has Simmonds been a consistent goal scorer on a not-so-consistent Flyers team, he has also earned himself a spot as an alternate captain for the team for his obvious leadership. Simmonds has cemented himself as one of the top players on the Flyers over the last few years and this year has taken his game to an All-Star level.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 29, 2017
Simmonds has continued to score plenty of goals, but he has also become a staple on the Flyers’ penalty kill, netting his first shorthanded goal of his career this season. His time on ice average has also gone up almost two full minutes from 17:14 a game last year to 19:03 this year. Simmonds has continued to become a versatile player in his role for the Flyers, more than they could have ever hoped for or expected from the big winger.
At 28 years of age, Simmonds is currently playing the best hockey of his career and will only continue to get better. He is showing that he can play in all situations, on the penalty kill and power play, as well as continuing to produce points. He is currently on pace for 34 goals and 28 assists which would place him at another career high in points and goals.
Simmonds continues to be an impressive player and seems like he is just entering the prime of his career. The first time All-Star has proved to be the gem of the Mike Richards trade back in 2011 and will keep playing great hockey for the Flyers as they try to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
WAYNE SIMMONDS GIVES THE METRO THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/nx7870Uo9v
— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 29, 2017
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