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Flyers wouldn't budge on rumored Wayne Simmonds trade at NHL draft

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Flyers wouldn't budge on rumored Wayne Simmonds trade at NHL draft

Rumors were circulating throughout the floor of the American Airlines Center Friday night of a potential deal involving Wayne Simmonds for Calgary defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

Who knows how deep those discussions evolved, but the possibility of a straight-up swap simply didn’t make much sense. 

The Flyers would have jumped at the chance of acquiring a 25-year-old right-handed 6-foot-6 defenseman who can skate like the wind while possessing an impressive offensive skill set coming off a career-high 17 goals last season. Hamilton’s durability includes missing just one game in his three seasons in Calgary and he’s under club control at a reasonable $5.75 million cap hit over the next three years.

Which is why a deal wasn’t brokered. 

The Flames simply needed more from the Flyers, and general manager Ron Hextall isn’t willing to part with the prospects that prospective teams continuously keep asking about whether it’s Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers or whomever. Once again, Hextall admitted as much after speaking with the media Sunday following the draft.

“Again, would we like to add a big piece? Yeah, we would absolutely, but we’re not trading one of our top prospects for a guy that’s going to play for us for a year or two," Hextall said. "You look back in two years and you go, 'What was I thinking?'”    

There’s a certain irony in that hypothetical, but Hextall can only cross his fingers and hope that a prospect like Sanheim eventually develops into a player like Hamilton, who interestingly was selected right after Sean Couturier in the 2011 draft. 

In fact, the guy sitting just to the right of Hextall at the Flyers' draft table likely would not have left Dallas without adding a player like Hamilton, but team president Paul Holmgren is now four years removed from making those decisions.

As it turned out, the Flames dealt Hamilton to Carolina the next day along with forward Micheal Ferland for 21-year-old defenseman Noah Hanifan, promising forward Elias Lindholm and defensive prospect Adam Fox. 

Regardless, the type of player the organization covets was available at a certain price — just not one the Flyers' GM is willing to meet.

Which brings us back to Simmonds.

July sets up to be an interesting month in the future of the Flyers' power forward.

For one, he’s eligible to sign an extension, and just a few weeks ago Hextall briefly mentioned preliminary discussions with Simmonds' agent in the near future. The framework for a deal will give the Flyers an idea of how closely the two sides are. Keep in mind, Claude Giroux (Holmgren signing) and Jakub Voracek (Hextall signing) were both locked up long term in July heading into their respective contract years. Same could happen with Simmonds.   

But if the two sides are far apart, rest assured there will be teams very interested in adding a 30-goal scorer. Right now, they’re simply waiting out the John Tavares saga before proceeding with Plan B. One team will walk away happy while others will be left scrambling.

Aside from Tavares, James van Riemsdyk is the only other potential UFA who scored 30 goals this past season, and while a myriad of injuries prevented Simmonds from reaching the 30-goal mark for the third time in his career, Simmonds appears poised to bounce back in a big way in 2018-19.

Hextall wants to be active during free agency, but to what extent is still undetermined. Keep in mind not only have the Flyers historically completed some deals with the start of free agency, they’ve also been prone to making a few trades as well. 

There’s Daymond Langkow to Phoenix in 2001, Joni Pitkanen to Edmonton in 2007, Denis Gauthier to L.A. in 2008, Kris Versteeg to Florida in 2011 and Tye McGinn to San Jose in 2014. All trades completed within the first few days of July.

However, Simmonds brings value beyond numbers. He’s a tremendous locker room leader, a strong presence with the organization’s younger players and will never back down standing up for anyone who wears the same sweater as he does.

The following days or weeks may determine just how much those intangibles are worth.

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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday's game should be a good one.

The Flyers and Lightning are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers have the league's most goals (52) and only one team has more points (21) — the Lightning (27).

Tampa Bay is also on a nine-game winning streak and 21-2-1 over its last 24 games.

The big showdown comes a little earlier than usual. Puck drop will be shortly after 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Flyers Pregame Live set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The matchup finishes off a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who then play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers