VOORHEES, N.J. — Wayne Simmonds would make a pretty good salesman.
He speaks with conviction and knows how to convey a point.
On Monday, he was selling the 2017-18 Flyers.
None of it was fluff. In fact, the sales pitch was completely valid.
Many clamored for the Flyers to become younger, and they did. Nolan Patrick, 19, is just getting healthy again after missing nine straight games. The fourth line features two 23-year-olds (Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier) that developed last season in the AHL. And half of the current defense is made up of rookies.
That's not to mention Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are only 20 years old, while Jordan Weal is in his first full NHL season.
After losing four straight games, the Flyers are 8-8-4 and still only five points out of first place despite sitting in last in the Metropolitan Division.
Things could be worse. Really, they're not all that bad.
"The season's not even close to being over," Simmonds said after practice at Flyers Skate Zone. "That's the way I'm thinking about it, guys. There's no need to be worried, we're a .500 hockey team right now, we've played 20 games, we have 62 games left, we've got a really young team and we're growing every single day. Yeah, we're going to have our struggles, but we're also going to have points in the season where we make huge strides. We've got to stick with it and we've got to keep going and going."
The Flyers were 9-8-3 after 20 games last season. Two games later, they were starting a 10-game winning streak. The run didn't accomplish much by season's end, but it's an example of how quickly trends can turn in the NHL.
Simmonds is experiencing his own negative trend of 12 straight games without a goal after scoring six in eight games to start the season.
"Sometimes you score 10 goals, then you don't score again for 20 games or something like that," Simmonds said. "Like I said, it's a long year, you keep going, you keep grinding, you guys want to jump to conclusions, that's your job. You guys have got to make decisions on a game-to-game basis, but for us, we just have to make sure we're coming to the rink and doing our job every single day and continuing to try and get better."
Throughout much of his drought, Simmonds has not looked himself, likely banged up from the style in which he plays and excels.
With time and patience, Simmonds is building himself up again physically.
"You think you can do some things and sometimes your body just tells you no," Simmonds said.
"I've been feeling better the last little bit. I feel like I've started to play better, things aren't coming offensively for me. I think as an individual, I've just got to keep working hard. The only way to break yourself out of a bad streak is to continue to work hard and hopefully things eventually go your way."
When does he know his game is coming to him?
"When I'm aggressive," Simmonds said. "When I'm battling in the corners, I'm hitting — I think earlier this year, I wasn't fully engaging in battles and stuff like that, and that's not me, that's not my game. I think the last little bit here, I've felt a lot better, I've been doing a lot more battling, a lot more hitting, a lot more physical things. It's nice and we've got to continue that. As a team, we've got to continue to do the same thing, to get to the front of the net and continue to put pucks in."
Aside from the first line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek, scoring struggles have permeated the middle six and secondary options. Konecny and Weal, two players the Flyers expected jumps from in production, have combined for four goals and nine assists. Konecny is without a goal over his previous 10 games, while Weal has scored one in his last 12.
"It's been a lot of hard work and not much to show for it," Weal said. "No matter what line we've been on, it seems like we've been getting three or four chances every game to put something in and nothing right now seems to be going in. It's one of those things that happens during a season.
"When it breaks open, hopefully it'll break wide open.
"When we have all four lines scoring, we're a really dangerous team."
Both Konecny and Weal are frequently the last two players off the practice ice.
Monday was no different.
"I just need to make sure I'm battling and creating more offense," Konecny said. "I feel like the opportunities are there, I'm not worried about that."
Nor is Simmonds worried about the Flyers with 62 games to go, the next coming Tuesday night at home against the Canucks.
Similar to building up strength and good health, patience is important to a season, especially with the makeup of this Flyers team.
Simmonds believes you'll buy in … just give it some time.
"You can look at the standings, you can do whatever you want, but we've played 20 games," Simmonds said. "There's still a long time to go in the season. We've got work to do.
"I'm definitely feeling better. It's up to me to get going."
When he does, the Flyers hope the rest follow.