Philadelphia Flyers

Haggerty: Bruins should pass on trading for Wayne Simmonds

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Haggerty: Bruins should pass on trading for Wayne Simmonds

DALLAS -- Interesting times for the Bruins as they head into NHL Draft weekend here, as a number of names have been bandied about as possibilities,. Things are fluid right now as far as targets and potential strategies go, what with the draft being held this weekend and free agency opening on July 1. 

One name that has popped up in recent days is Flyers power forward Wayne Simmonds, who is entering the final year of his contract at age 29. Simmonds was mentioned as a possible target by NBC Sports Boston way back in May, and has been kicked up in the last few days with The Athletic’s Michael Russo mentioning him as possible trade bait for the Minnesota Wild. 

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In a vacuum, Simmonds would be a terrific second-line fit for Boston. Despite battling injuries that culminated with him undergoing hip surgery, Simmonds scored 24 goals and 46 points last year. Just a couple of seasons ago he put up 32 goals and 60 points. At his best, the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder is a prototypical power forward capable of scoring goals around the net, throwing big hits and dropping the gloves with a ferocious level of intimidation when the situation calls for it. 

He’s very much in the mold of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla as the kind of power winger that’s been very good with David Krejci in the past, and would make the Bruins a little tougher and much harder to play against. 

So, clearly, as a player Simmonds would be “a great addition” for the Bruins, as Bruce Cassidy said about Ilya Kovalchuk, with all things being equal. 

Here’s the rub: The cost is going to be considerable for Simmonds. The Bruins will have to give up significant assets to get a full year of Simmonds ahead of his free-agent walk year, and then they’d need to pay up again to sign him to a big contract extension at some point next season.

Certainly the B’s would feel beholden to sign Simmonds if they gave up blue-chip prospects and draft picks to land him.

As with most trade discussions over the last year, Jake DeBrusk is a name that's been an ask from other team. Even if it's Danton Heinen or Anders Bjork involved in the discussions instead, the Bruins would need to give up a valued young winger in order to get the more established Simmonds. 

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They’d be doing all this for a big-bodied, 29-year-old player who's probably going to start slowing down, and breaking down, over the next few seasons.

A couple of years ago landing Simmonds would have been a master stroke move for the Bruins as they sought to replace Lucic’s hulking presence in the lineup. Certainly they could have used the offensive punch on their second line, where Rick Nash disappointed after arriving at the trade deadline last spring. 

But in this humble hockey writer’s opinion, the window should probably be closed at this point on acquiring Simmonds, given the cost in terms of both assets and future dollars.

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Talking Points: Giroux rises to the occasion

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Talking Points: Giroux rises to the occasion

GOLD STAR: The Flyers had some standout players on Sunday afternoon, but Hart Trophy candidate Claude Giroux rose to the top with a pair of goals scored, including the overtime game-winner on a breakaway chance. Giroux finished with the two goals, a plus-3 rating and had five shot attempts in his 18:52 of ice time and bookended the Flyers scoring with the first and last goal of the game. Giroux was also all kinds of dynamite in the face-off circle winning 7-of-9 draws and otherwise played a strong game working the two-man game with Travis Konecny throughout the contest. The 95-point mark that Giroux has reached this season is a career-high for the Flyers center as he’s enjoying one of his best seasons in Philly.

BLACK EYE: It was a tough night for Adam McQuaid, who finished a minus-2 in just 13:04 of ice time and made some mistakes on the ice that led to high quality chances throughout the game. The Torey Krug/McQuaid pairing in general got into a lot of adventurous shifts on the ice where they were allowing Flyers players to get behind them, struggling to break the puck out of their own zone and at times giving up too much ground to the Flyers attacking the B’s zone with speed and aggressiveness. Certainly it felt like McQuaid and Krug were the pairing against Claude Giroux’s line on the ice every time something good was happening for Philly. It might have just been one of those days for a pair that hasn’t played much together lately after spending all of last season together, but they need to be a lot tighter defensively.

TURNING POINT: The turning point for the Bruins was simply getting the game to overtime and salvaging a point in a game where they clearly didn’t have much in the tank. With the goalie pulled, the Bruins simply wouldn’t relent while hunting the puck offensively and making a handful of plays to keep the puck in the zone while maintaining heavy pressure on Philly’s defense. It was David Krejci that made the final play to keep the puck inside the Bruins attack zone, and that set up the play where a loose puck bounced from the front of the net to Patrice Bergeron’s stick for the game-tying strike. It wasn’t enough to get the full two points, but for a gassed B’s bunch pushing things to overtime was an impressive feat in and of itself. In all the Bruins outshot Tampa Bay by a 10-8 margin while coming back again in the third period.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak was the best of the three forwards on Boston’s top line with a power play goal in the third period that deflected off Wayne Simmonds and a team-high seven shots on net in his 21:30 of ice time. Brad Marchand managed just a single shot on net and Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-2 despite his last second heroics in the third period, but it was Pastrnak that had the good skating legs to be a threat throughout the game. Pastrnak was robbed earlier in the game of a second goal when a backdoor feed left wide open, but somehow Petr Mrazek was able to extend fully across the crease and swallow up Pastrnak’s elevated shot with a big time glove save that ranks as one of the best all season. That’s what was needed to keep Pasta from cooking up a little more offense for the B’s.

BY THE NUMBERS: 30 – the number of goals for Patrice Bergeron after scoring his last-second, game-tying strike that now gives the Bruins 30-goal scorers at all three spots on their top line with Bergeron, Brad Marchand (34) and David Pastrnak (33).  

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Losing sucks. That's only what I can say." –Anton Khudobin, who clearly didn’t want to hear about moral victories after losing in overtime while giving up four goals on 24 shots in a so-so kind of effort.

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Flyers outlast Bruins in overtime

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Flyers outlast Bruins in overtime

PHILADELPHIA – The undermanned Bruins have won their share of games lately while missing players from their team, but they couldn’t muster that special stuff once again on Sunday in Philadelphia.

The Bruins never held a lead and made some uncharacteristic mistakes in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center where they still did enough to get a point making it to overtime.

Claude Giroux won it in the extra session with a breakaway score for his second goal of the game as he drives a pretty strong Hart Trophy candidacy to the finish line.  

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The Flyers jumped on the board first in the opening period when a quick, clean breakout through all three zones gave Philly plenty of speed and space for tic-tac-toe passing, and Travis Konecny fed a cross-ice pass to Claude Giroux for a one-timer that beat Anton Khudobin to the far post. The Flyers doubled their lead at the start of the second period on the very first shift when Travis Konecny dangled through Adam McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron off the half-wall before snapping a shot short-side on Khudobin.

The Bruins got one back in the second period on Noel Acciari’s ninth goal of the season while taking a shift with David Backes and Danton, and that closed it to a one-goal deficit headed into the final 20 minutes of action.

Once again in the third Nolan Patrick got behind the Bruins defense after getting away with a high stick to the face of Torey Krug, and Patrick buried his chance in all alone to restore the two-goal cushion. Boston’s top power play unit once again struck with David Pastrnak scoring his 33rd goal of the season to again make it a one-goal game, but that’s as close as the Black and Gold would get until the very end against a well-rested Philly team.

That’s when the Bruins pulled their goalie and Patrice Bergeron scored his 30th goal of the season with 3.8 seconds to go to tie things up and push it into overtime.  

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