With less than a week to go until the NHL trade deadline, there will be many different scenarios that could play out for the Bruins. There could be modest deals for a Riley Nash-type figure for the third-line center spot that’s been difficult to fill this season, and there could be bigger deals for more offensive firepower amongst the top-6 forwards.
Certainly a trade for a player like Artemi Panarin would register as a major move and would require an outlay of some pretty significant assets. Lesser moves for players like Micheal Ferland or Kevin Hayes wouldn’t quite register quite as high on the trade deadline Richter scale, and perhaps wouldn’t be enough to put the Bruins over the top.
That’s why Flyers power forward Wayne Simmonds still qualifies as the best possible fit for the Bruins considering cost, impact on the lineup, and what the Bruins need. Sources around the team have confirmed interest in the player for months now, and it's just a matter of getting the deal done once Philly decides he's going to be on the move in the last year of his contract.
Simmonds, 30, certainly has a track record as a game-breaking power forward capable of scoring goals, throwing big hits and dropping the gloves when the moment calls for it within a game.
But he’s also having a down season with the Flyers, with just 16 goals and 27 points along with a minus-14 rating in 59 games, and has only 19 even-strength points this entire year. So the price tag may not be as high as it would have been at the beginning of the season, and it certainly might not even be as high as it was for similar rental Rick Nash last season. The Bruins gave up a first-rounder, Ryan Spooner and D-man prospect Ryan Lindgren for a few months of service from Nash.
The Bruins surrendered that bounty for Nash at least partially because they had designs on re-signing him before concussions essentially ended his career.
There likely won’t be any of the same kind of guarantees that the 6-foot-2, 183-pound Simmonds would stick with Boston after a trade this season, though one would expect that Bruins fans and Simmonds would quickly bond once he suited up in Black and Gold.
The Bruins have plenty of prospects to offer Philly in the right deal, whether it’s underachieving first-round picks like Jakub Zboril or Zach Senyshyn, a solid young D-man like Jeremy Lauzon, a center prospect like Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson or a skilled winger like Ryan Donato. The real hurdle would be draft-pick compensation, with the Flyers undoubtedly looking for a first-round pick in exchange for Simmonds. That might be a prerequisite given the interest in Simmonds from Atlantic Division rivals like Tampa Bay, but the Bruins could get creative with a conditional second-round pick that becomes a first if Simmonds ends up re-signing with the Bruins.
Maybe that wouldn’t be enough to land Simmonds, but the suspicion here is that Don Sweeney isn’t going to give up another first-round pick for a rental after what happened with Nash.
Simmonds would be a natural at right wing on David Krejci’s line while David Pastrnak heals from his thumb injury and could potentially stay there once Pastrnak is healthy again, allowing the Bruins to reunite their Perfection Line. In many ways he’s the perfect fit for a Bruins team that could really use a power forward still in his prime, with an aging David Backes not the player he once was and far too many small, young players on the wing among their forward group.
Simmonds brings scoring, snarl, and a little more of the traditional Bruins way of playing, and for all those reasons and more he absolutely makes the most sense for the Black and Gold at the trade deadline.
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