Forward Wayne Simmonds topped the list of players of color who were dealt to new National Hockey League teams prior to the close of Monday’s trade deadline.
“I was extremely on edge, obviously, not knowing where the day would do or how it would unfold,” Simmonds told Canada’s TSN. “I went to the rink this morning for practice and then I was told I wouldn’t be practicing. I had a chance to say bye to the boys for the last time. It happened at the last minute of the deadline and I’m kind of overwhelmed right now.”
A hard-nosed player with scoring ability around the net, Simmonds was the Flyers seventh-leading scorer this season with 27 points – 16 goals and 11 assists in 62 games.
He notched 24 or more goals in all but one season season since the Flyers acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings in June 2011 along with forward Brayden Schenn and second-round draft pick for forward Mike Richards.
Simmonds played his last game as a Flyer outdoors Saturday night, a 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. An emotional Simmonds and Flyers teammates knew he would likely be dealt Monday.
At 30, Simmonds is in the final year of his contract and the Flyers reportedly were reluctant to sign him to a long-term deal. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer unless Nashville strikes a deal with him.
Monday’s trade reunites Simmonds with Nashville Coach Peter Laviolette, who was Philadelphia’s bench boss from 2009-10 to 2013-14.
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Simmonds scored 32 goals in 2015-16 and 31 goals the following season. Most of those goals came on power plays when he would set up shop in front of the opposing goaltender and wait for deflections or rebounds.
Simmonds suffered a rash of injuries last season – a tear in his pelvic area, a fractured ankle, pulled groin, two mouth injuries, and a torn ligament in his right thumb. Still, he managed to score 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.
The Anaheim Ducks swapped defenseman Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Brendan Guhle and a conditional 2019 first round draft pick. Montour, who grew up in the Six Nations community of Ohsweken in Canada, was Anaheim’s top-scoring defenseman.
He tallied 25 points – 5 goals and 20 assists – in 62 games and logged the fourth-most ice time among Anaheim defenders at 22:40 minutes per game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs obtained forward Nicholas Baptiste from Nashville future considerations. Baptiste, a Buffalo 2013 third round draft pick, had been playing for the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s American Hockey League affiliate. Had 22 points – 12 goals and 10 assists – in 55 games with the Admirals.
The Florida Panthers acquired forward Cliff Pu from the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. Pu, a 2016 Buffalo third-round draft pick, had 1 goal and 5 assists for the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes AHL farm team.
On Saturday, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded speedy forward Anthony Duclair and second round picks in 2020 and 2021 to the Ottawa Senators for forward Ryan Dzingel. Duclair, a New York Rangers 2013 third round draft pick, had 11 goals and 8 assists in 53 games for Columbus this season.
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