Flyers

Wayne Simmonds deserves better than what the Flyers are giving him

Wayne Simmonds deserves better than what the Flyers are giving him

Wayne Simmonds had every reason to pose for a brief photo op Tuesday night.

Albeit in a losing effort, Simmonds had just scored his 200th career goal as a Flyer, a rare accomplishment achieved by only 14 other players in franchise history.

Only one problem. 

The Flyers didn’t secure the puck that found its way into the back of the Capitals' net, and perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered. Simmonds was nowhere to be found afterward in the visitor’s dressing room of Capital One Arena.

No one was quite sure of Simmonds' whereabouts, but perhaps this postgame tweet provided a glimpse into Simmonds' mindset after his 10-minute misconduct late in the third period.

On TSN’s Insider Trading segment Tuesday, Simmonds was the first hot topic on the table and a player coveted by teams around the league, but with one caveat.

“The Flyers haven’t made a decision on the direction they want to go with Wayne Simmonds,” analyst Darren Dreger said. “They know he’s a big part of the culture in Philadelphia and has been for a long time, but he’s also a high-valued commodity.”

Dreger mentioned the Jets, Maple Leafs and Flames as contending teams that would have a strong interest in adding a player of Simmonds' caliber.

But mired in the muck of a midseason general managerial change, you can’t fault Chuck Fletcher for attempting to gather his bearings and make well-informed decisions regarding the future of the franchise. A month ago, Fletcher was just making introductory phone calls with agents and getting to know his players on a personal level.

Last week, Fletcher took time to watch the Flyers' prospects for the first time at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

But this is the fallout of an in-season GM switch when the organization is trying to hit the reset button.

Fletcher may know where he’s going, but right now Simmonds is a compass without a needle, and he deserves better. The outspoken, heart-and-soul leader of this team over the past eight seasons, Simmonds shouldn’t be held in limbo like this.

He saw Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek both sign long-term extensions in the summer before their contract year, and the extension Simmonds was hoping to sign this past summer was inked by James van Riemsdyk, who has clearly underperformed so far in Year 1 of a five-year deal. 

All of which makes you wonder how much lack of appreciation Simmonds keeps bottled up when he goes to the rink every day. Even Dreger pointed to a lack of patience on Simmonds' part. 

“I don’t think Wayne Simmonds wants to wait around too much longer to determine what his direction is moving forward,” Dreger said.

Still, Simmonds soldiers on and tries to put this whole messy situation in some sort of perspective.

Playing in the league a long time, you’ve been through it before. You bring up the trade deadline, this is my 11th year, you get used to things like this. It just is what it is. You've just got to be a professional on and off the ice. You've got to come to work and do your job.

At the same time, you can understand if he’s not in the mood to put a smile on his face and pose for a photo.

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Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers will be playing for more than just two points Saturday night.

They'll be playing for Oskar Lindblom, their teammate who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. The news was announced Friday and has been followed by an outpouring of support for the 23-year-old (see story).

As they back Lindblom, the Flyers will try to move forward. Since the start of November, they've done a pretty good job of not leaving games empty-handed. The Flyers have earned at least a point in 16 of their last 20 contests, going 12-4-4.

On Saturday, the Flyers (17-9-5) will try to get back into the points column when they visit the Wild (15-12-5).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• An example of how consistent the Flyers have been is that they haven't lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29. They'll try to avoid doing so Saturday night after dropping to the Avalanche, 3-1, Wednesday night.

With head coach Alain Vigneault's constant emphasis on structure and possession, the Flyers have given themselves a chance most nights.

A positive for Vigneault and company heading into the matchup with the Wild: The Flyers are tied for second in the NHL with the fewest shots allowed per game (28.8), while Minnesota puts up the second-fewest shots per game (28.6).

The Flyers have a good chance to play on their terms tonight.

• Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr are back in their old stomping grounds.

Fletcher was the GM of the Wild from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

Fletcher's challenge in Philadelphia was similar to the one he faced in Minnesota and here's how he fared (see story).

• The Wild have played the fewest home games in the NHL (12) and the most on the road (20). Minnesota is 8-1-3 at home and 11-3-4 overall since Nov. 5 following a 4-9-1 start.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

usa_oskar_lindblom_flyers.jpg
USA Today Images

Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Below is a statement from Flyers president of hockey operations and general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania. He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter. He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available. Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.

Lindblom, a native of Sweden, had been one of the Flyers’ top players through 30 games, scoring 11 goals and 18 points.

He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and has blossomed into a promising player.

Always smiling, positive and humble, Lindblom is beloved by his teammates. His rise from a fifth-round pick to a difference-making player has been a product of hard work.

After scoring 17 goals last season, sixth most among NHL rookies, Lindblom went back to Gävle, Sweden, to train all summer with his old team Brynäs IF.

"It’s like five minutes from my house," Lindblom said during training camp.

“It was nice to be back home for a bit, just relaxed, had some time with friends and family, so it was great.”

It didn't take long for the Flyers' new coaching staff to fall in love with Lindblom's game as the winger raced out of the chute, scoring in the team's season opener and playing a major role ever since.

“I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Oct. 26.

In the summer of 2017, Lindblom talked about his climb within the Flyers' system.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said.

By the age of 23, he has more than made it on the highest level.

Below is the outpouring of support for Lindblom, via social media:

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