Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk and Jordan Hall.
The topic: Debating the Wayne Simmonds trade.
General manager Chuck Fletcher's trade with the Predators was one that he had in his back pocket heading into deadline day. Obviously, he wasn't in love with the return or he wouldn't have waited until 2:58 p.m. to go through with it, but that's why you exercise every option and leave every window open until you know there are no more possibilities to explore.
If Ron Hextall was pulling the strings on this deal, it may have worked out a little bit differently. Hextall would have embraced receiving a prospect or two in return. Fletcher, as it turned out, wanted to fortify his bottom six with a player that he could insert right away. In some ways, I can understand this logic. The Flyers aren't a very deep team at the forward position and this deal is more of a testament to how the GM views this team organizationally.
I think there's some skepticism when you look at the Lehigh Valley forwards like Mike Vecchione, Tyrell Goulbourne and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Right now, they can't be considered NHL-ready contributors and that's why Fletcher added a player like Ryan Hartman.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Flyers acquire Dante Fabbro, as the Flyers are short on right-handed defensemen, and a higher draft pick. Fabbro is a defenseman who seems ready for the NHL, but who knows if Fletcher inquired or if David Poile made him available. However, I do like Fletcher's mindset of gearing up for next season, and that's the underlying message moving forward.
The bottom line as it relates to Simmonds and this trade is that he wasn't as highly coveted as Mark Stone and Kevin Hayes, and in the end, he didn't command the trade deadline return that the Flyers' organization had been hoping for.
As great as Simmonds is intangibly — heart, leadership, experience — it didn't look like opposing general managers were as impressed with the production side of the equation, making them leery to give up too much in a trade.
Simmonds has a slew of characteristics contending teams covet over the stretch run into the playoffs. He can play up and down the lineup, he provides a power forward mindset and his power-play résumé is elite.
But this year, he's projected to finish with his lowest goal total (21) in a full season since 2010-11, when he played just 13:27 minutes per game with the Kings.
Furthermore, at 30 years old, he's coming off a laundry list of injuries from 2017-18: A tear in his pelvic area (which required offseason surgery), fractured ankle, pulled groin, torn ligament in his thumb and a busted mouth (twice).
Fletcher likely shot high in his asking price (there's a reason why the trade was so close to the 3 p.m. deadline), but ultimately had to come down to get something.
A 2020 fourth-round pick (which could turn into a third) and a 24-year-old with a first-round background that is cost effective made up a realistic return.
And it's not all that bad.
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