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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