Flyers

Wayne Simmonds contract: Ron Hextall was 'ways apart' on extension with Flyers' power forward

Wayne Simmonds contract: Ron Hextall was 'ways apart' on extension with Flyers' power forward

VOORHEES, N.J. — One of the first orders of business a new general manager will have to address is the status of Wayne Simmonds and his future with the organization.

Simmonds is playing out the final season of a six-year, $23.8 million contract he signed with the organization in August 2012. Ideally, Simmonds would like to remain in Philadelphia for the remainder of his career. 

However, the outlook was looking rather bleak under former GM Ron Hextall.

“There was a comfort level for us and a comfort level for them," Hextall said Friday. “We were a ways apart.”

It’s believed Simmonds is searching for a long-term contract in the neighborhood of six years that will take him into the final years of his career. Hextall stated it was a combination of the length of a contract and where the forward fit in the framework of the salary cap. The organization also has to re-sign restricted free agents Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny — two players who should be considered a higher priority, given their long-term value to the franchise.    

Hextall also admitted he hadn’t spoken to Simmonds' agent, Eustace King of O2K Management, since Nov. 1 when the Flyers were in Los Angeles. If the Flyers continue their losing ways into 2019, the possibility of a trade becomes more and more likely.

“I don’t know how that was going to play out,” Hextall said. “Sometimes you’ve got to have a deadline for those things. Whether it would have been the trade deadline or the end of the year (June 30), I don’t know how that would have played out.”

When I asked Simmonds if a regime change left him optimistic that a new contract extension could be reached, the Flyers' power forward remained steadfast in his decision to focus purely on hockey moving forward.

“I’ve got no clue. I’d think you’d have to ask the guys in charge,” Simmonds said. “As players, we’re here to play. I think I have to continue to improve as well. That’s my main focus here.”

Since joining the Flyers in June 2011 in the trade for Mike Richards, Simmonds leads all Flyers with 196 goals.

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With newcomers, Flyers keep on humming in NHL playoff race, have Penguins in their sights

With newcomers, Flyers keep on humming in NHL playoff race, have Penguins in their sights

BOX SCORE

A day after the NHL trade deadline, the Flyers showed off their new look and didn't miss a beat.

With reinforcements Derek Grant and Nate Thompson, the Flyers defeated the Sharks, 4-2, Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (36-20-7) have won four straight games, their longest win streak since Dec. 17-23, when they also won four in a row.

Not many in the league have been better than the Flyers over their last 20 games. The Flyers are 14-5-1 with an NHL-high 72 goals since Jan. 8. Over that stretch, only one club has more points than the Flyers' 29 — the Lightning with 31.

The Sharks (26-33-4), who have a number of injuries and traded away Barclay Goodrow and Patrick Marleau before Monday's deadline, have lost five straight.

• Good work by the Flyers handling a lesser opponent.

Tuesday was a big night in the playoff race as the Islanders, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes were all in action

The Flyers are still in third place of the Metropolitan Division and climbed to within one point of the second-place Penguins.

• The new line of Scott Laughton, Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny sure was fun to watch.

During the second period, Hayes and Konecny scored goals to help the Flyers restore order with a 3-1 lead at intermission.

Hayes tacked on another in the third period, giving him 21 markers this season. The 27-year-old is projected to break his career high of 25 set in 2017-18 and he might flirt with 30.

On Hayes' first goal, the 6-foot-5 center used his impressive reach to snag Laughton's pass and bury the shot. The Flyers are 17-0-1 when Hayes scores a goal.

Meanwhile, Konecny finished with his third three-point effort over the last four games. He had two three-point games over his first three NHL seasons.

Laughton continued his always reliable play with two assists and a plus-3 mark.

• Grant and Thompson, both acquired by the Flyers Monday, were eased into duty.

Both went scoreless as Grant committed a penalty and was solid in the faceoff circle, while Thompson centered the fourth line.

Here's how they're getting acclimated (see story).

• At home, Carter Hart has been an absolute nightmare for opponents.

With 26 saves, he improved his home mark to 17-2-2.

The 21-year-old has yielded two or fewer goals in 17 of his 21 home games. He is a must-see ticket in Philly.

• Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim made clutch third-period plays to break up juicy scoring chances for the Sharks.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel has six goals this season. He has turned into one of the biggest surprises since his mid-December call-up.

Last season, he went scoreless over nine outings, playing just 5:35 minutes per game.

• A beautiful job by the Flyers.

• The Flyers are off Wednesday and practice Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before hosting the Rangers Friday night (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Don't like the Phillie Phanatic's new look? Gritty has a message for you

Don't like the Phillie Phanatic's new look? Gritty has a message for you

When Gritty and the Phillie Phanatic met in September 2018 at Citizens Bank Park, a special bond was born.

With his best friend from across the street under the microscope for his new look, Gritty stepped up Tuesday night in defense of the Phanatic.

During the first period of the Flyers-Sharks game at the Wells Fargo Center, Gritty had a message for anyone out there not in support of the Phanatic's fresh style.

This is what best friends do.

Good for Gritty. The Phanatic would do the same for the orange fella.

Both will be reunited at the ballyard soon.

Look out.

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