Wayne Simmonds provides update on contract talks with Flyers

Wayne Simmonds provides update on contract talks with Flyers

One of the Flyers' storylines of the summer that remains unanswered as training camp is now two weeks away is Wayne Simmonds' contract status.

Simmonds is entering the final season of his six-year, $23.85 million contract extension that he signed Aug. 16, 2012, and is eligible to sign an extension with the Flyers.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said multiple times he would like to extend Simmonds, who turned 30 on Sunday, but we haven't heard much from the player since his exit interview in April (see story).

That changed Wednesday.

"I think they've had preliminary talks," Simmonds told reporters in Toronto, "but it is what it is at this point. I got to get healthy first and foremost and show that I am the player that I was two years ago.

"For being injured, I didn't have a bad season last year, but it's still not to the best of my ability. So when we continue to talk, we continue to talk. It is what it is right now."

With training camp 16 days away, the clock is nearing midnight if the Flyers and Simmonds wanted to get something done before the season gets underway.

Obviously, they can agree to an extension at any point during the regular season, but Hextall doesn't have an extensive history re-signing players in-season.

Hextall did sign Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year extension in March of the 2015-16 season, so it's not totally out of his M.O. But you'd think they would want to hammer one out before the season gets rolling.

Simmonds has plenty of motivation this season outside of his next contract (see story). He said Wednesday that his contract status will not change the way he'll play.

"I don't think it's going to change much for me," Simmonds said. "I'm going to be the same player I always am, so it's not going to have much barring.

"I've played 10 years in this league. I've put together some pretty good years, so I don't think I have much to prove other than being the player that I am."

More on the Flyers

Different roads meet for Flyers prospects Carter Hart, Anthony Stolarz

Different roads meet for Flyers prospects Carter Hart, Anthony Stolarz

VOORHEES, N.J. — The locker room designated for prospects at Flyers Skate Zone is starting to become bleak.

It's a natural occurrence as the days of preseason dwindle.

There wasn't much to see Saturday. With a small group of reporters hovering near a specific locker stall, a few prospects quipped about which player was being awaited.

"I've got 79 ideas," Anthony Stolarz said.

Carter Hart is No. 79. You get the joke.

Hart is the kid in net dominating the discussion of goalies, a beloved topic in Philadelphia — always. The noise is reaching a new pitch as injuries have hit Alex Lyon and Michal Neuvirth in a four-day span. Lyon (lower body) is out approximately four weeks, while Neuvirth remains a mystery. The oft-injured goalie had another issue crop up Friday and general manager Ron Hextall expects him to miss time, how much unknown.

Outside of Hart and Stolarz, Brian Elliott is the healthy goalie. And even he's coming off core muscle surgery last season and a summer of recovery.

Suddenly, the situation is breathing life into the notion of Hart cracking the roster at 20 years old.

Following a junior career full of accolades (see story), Hart owns the spotlight, one that has steadily grown ever since he was selected by the Flyers in the second round of the 2016 draft. He has stopped 45 of 47 shots during the preseason and is used to the attention, so he won't change much as the doorway widens.

"I haven't really looked at that," Hart said. "For me, just taking things day by day. For now, I'm just focusing on we have a preseason game on Monday. I'm not sure who's going to play or not, but you just have to be prepared. I have to come to the rink every day and be prepared for anything.

"Go with the flow, really."

Creeping into the spotlight is Stolarz, an outcast of sorts entering training camp. He played in just one AHL game and three ECHL contests last season because of a torn meniscus in his left knee suffered during early September.

He understands the outside perception of where he stands.

"[Lyon, Hart, Felix Sandstrom], they've had pretty good seasons and you miss the entire year, don't play any games, you're obviously going to get lost in the shuffle," Stolarz said. "But at the same time, it was more motivation for me to rehab and try to get back as soon as possible and show that I'm 100 percent and ready to go."

On Saturday, a new September represented a new Stolarz, who has made 51 saves on 57 shots throughout exhibition play. The 24-year-old looks refreshed and sounds confident. The challenge makes the climb back worth it.

"You get hurt right around training camp, you're obviously going to be a little upset, a little depressed," Stolarz said. "At first, it kind of took its toll seeing guys going back down to Allentown, guys making the big club. But I had a great support staff, my family, my teammates, Jimmy McCrossin, Sal Raffa, I worked with Jarrod Spencer, the mental coach with the Phantoms."

One of the positives Stolarz took out of the grind was going to "a ton of Flyers games," he said, getting the chance to watch and learn by studying other netminders like Carey Price and Pekka Rinne.

While he was doing so, Hart was on the ice, finishing a mastery of the junior level. They were in drastically different spots. Now, they're side by side with the same opportunity in sight.

And not just at Lehigh Valley.

More on the Flyers

Flyers lose Danick Martel off waivers to Lightning, make more roster cuts

USA Today Images

Flyers lose Danick Martel off waivers to Lightning, make more roster cuts

VOORHEES, N.J. — Danick Martel will get his NHL shot.

It just won't be in orange and black.

Martel, who made his NHL debut with the Flyers last season over a four-game stint, was plucked off waivers Saturday by the Lightning.

Of all the players placed on waivers Friday across the league, Martel was the only one claimed. Cole Bardreau, T.J. Brennan, Greg Carey and Phil Varone all cleared and were assigned to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, along with Radel Fazleev.

Martel was an undrafted product in the organization. The speedy 5-foot-8, 162-pound winger put up nice numbers at the AHL level after a 102-point 2014-15 campaign (48 goals, 54 assists) at the junior level. He scored 20 or more goals in each of his three seasons with the Phantoms. Overall, he had 120 points in 199 games at Lehigh Valley, with a career-high 25 goals and plus-16 rating last season.

"He's a good player," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said Saturday after practice. "It's a good opportunity for him, he's worked hard and you hate to lose a player like that out of the organization, but that's the business."

If Martel has a future at the NHL level, it will be as a bottom-six forward. His diminutive size makes it difficult for him to fill such a role that requires a bit more physicality and defensive focus.

But the 23-year-old brings positional versatility and some dynamic scoring ability. The Flyers, however, have grown their forward depth significantly and Martel ultimately did not seem seriously in the picture.

How much Martel actually plays and how long he stays in Tampa Bay is a whole different question. He joins a Lightning team that finished the 2017-18 regular season with an Eastern Conference-best 113 points and fell one series victory shy of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

The Flyers' roster now stands at 35 and it must be trimmed to 23 by the Oct. 4 season opener.

Forwards (20)
Travis Konecny, RW, No. 11
Michael Raffl, RW, No. 12
Sean Couturier, C, No. 14
Jori Lehtera, C, No. 15
Wayne Simmonds, RW, No. 17
Nolan Patrick, C, No. 19
Taylor Leier, LW, No. 20
Scott Laughton, C, No. 21
Dale Weise, RW, No. 22
James van Riemsdyk, LW, No. 25
Claude Giroux, RW, No. 28
Corban Knight, C, No. 38
Tyrell Goulbourne, LW, No. 39
Jordan Weal, C, No. 40
Mikhail Vorobyev, C, No. 46
Oskar Lindblom, LW, No. 54
Nicolas Aube-Kubel, RW, No. 62
Pascal Laberge, C, No. 75
Carsen Twarynski, LW, No. 81
Jakub Voracek, RW, No. 93

Defensemen (10)
Radko Gudas, No. 3
Samuel Morin, No. 5
Travis Sanheim, No. 6
Robert Hagg, No. 8
Ivan Provorov, No. 9
Christian Folin, No. 26
Andrew MacDonald, No. 47
Shayne Gostisbehere, No. 53
Mark Friedman, No. 59
Philippe Myers, No. 61

Goaltenders (5)
Michal Neuvirth, No. 30
Alex Lyon, No. 34
Brian Elliott, No. 37
Anthony Stolarz, No. 41
Carter Hart, No. 79

More on the Flyers