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Sport Former All-Star Wayne Simmonds drawing interest ahead of free agency

20:15  06 october  2020
20:15  06 october  2020 Source:   prohockeyrumors.com

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The free agent market is approaching rapidly, and without an interview period, this season things may be complete chaos when the bell strikes on Friday. Then again, that perhaps will not be the case for every free agent. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the Buffalo Sabres have given Wayne Simmonds permission to speak with other teams ahead of free agency.

Wayne Simmonds wearing a football uniform © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Wayne Simmonds

That news comes on the heels of a report from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic that both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have shown interest in Simmonds. Both teams are looking for a little more physicality in their forward groups, something Simmonds can provide in spades when healthy and playing his best. He’s also an excellent net-front player on the power play, something both teams could use.

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The question now is whether Simmonds can ever get back to that “healthy and playing his best” status. The 32-year-old scored just eight goals in 68 games this past season playing for the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres after an extremely disappointing finish to the 2018-19 season with the Nashville Predators.

Once one of the best power forwards in the entire league, Simmonds was a perennial 30-goal candidate with oodles of physicality and leadership. In 2015-16 he reached a career-high with 32 goals and 60 points, while also racking up 192 hits for the Philadelphia Flyers. That kind of player is difficult to find in today’s game, but even in the case of Simmonds himself, it may no longer exist.


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For at least the Maple Leafs, Simmonds would need to take a drastic pay cut to fit into their financial structure, but perhaps he will be forced to do that anyway by a shrinking market. He earned $5M on his one-year deal with the Devils but will likely be looking at a much lower salary this offseason.

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