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.

More on the Flyers

Anthony Stolarz, with a lot to prove, among Flyers' qualified RFAs

Zack Hill/Flyers

Anthony Stolarz, with a lot to prove, among Flyers' qualified RFAs

VOORHEES, N.J. — Anthony Stolarz is still very much a part of the Flyers' organization. 

So is Alex Lyon.

Both players received qualifying offers Monday from the Flyers. Teams have until 4 p.m. Monday to tender qualifying offers to their restricted free agents. The move is more procedural than anything so teams still retain negotiating rights.

In all, the Flyers tendered six players — a group that also includes defenseman Robert Hagg and forwards Taylor Leier, Tyrell Goulbourne and Danick Martel. As expected, the organization did not extend a qualifying offer to Petr Mrazek, who will now hit the free-agent market on July 1.

If a player rejects the qualifying offer, they still remain a restricted free agent and their rights are retained by the Flyers.

However, the Flyers weren’t about to lose a young prospect with nothing in return, so in all likelihood, Stolarz and Lyon will be with the organization when training camp opens in September. The goaltending situation is perhaps the most intriguing with four netminders with NHL experience along with highly-prized prospect Carter Hart joining the mix in 2018-19.

“It’s just competition. No one is going to go in there and hand you a job, so you have to earn it,” Stolarz said Monday. “I think the thing for me is to prove I’m healthy. I don’t think I’ve skated since the end of January. I had the one flare up before one of my games and it had nothing to do with my knee injury. It was a separate injury. I think the biggest thing is proving I’m healthy and going out there and working to prove I’m still a high-caliber goalie.”

Stolarz went through a rigorous workout Monday at the Flyers Skate Zone and even took shots from defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. He doesn’t see the knee injury derailing his offseason following last summer’s surgery to repair the meniscus tear that required months of rehab.

Now, the 2012 second-round pick, who was actually selected higher than Hart was, can prove why he was such a valued commodity coming out of the draft six years ago. 

“I definitely think I’m still an NHL-caliber goalie,” Stolarz said. “I think with my size and quickness, it’s two attributes that you don’t see too often — guys like Pekka Rinne and Ben Bishop. I think the biggest thing with me is, just proving I can stay healthy.

“Taking that year off at first took a toll on me mentally and it hit me hard, but as the year went on, I was able to watch some Flyers games and watch some goalies and take some things from other goalies and incorporate them into my game.”

More on the Flyers

• How Carlson's extension with Capitals impacts Flyers

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

If Samuel Morin doesn't pan out, is Adam Ginning the guy to replace him?

AP Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

If Samuel Morin doesn't pan out, is Adam Ginning the guy to replace him?

DALLAS — A day after Ron Hextall announced a new three-year extension for Samuel Morin (see story), the Flyers went out and grabbed a guy who could be the Swedish version of Morin, choosing Adam Ginning with the 50th overall selection in the second round of Saturday's NHL draft (see story).

A stay-at-home defenseman, the 6-foot-4 Ginning possesses a lot of the same attributes as the 6-foot-7 Morin — grittiness, toughness, with an ability to protect the net. In fact, Ginning may be more NHL ready than Morin was when he was drafted as an 18-year-old back in 2013; Ginning started his pro hockey career in Sweden at the age of 16. 

In some ways, Hextall wasn’t expecting Ginning to be available as he described the second round as a “crapshoot” with teams going completely off the board with picks that weren’t projected to be in the top 60.

“We like his size. We like his upside,” Hextall said of Ginning. “He’s a big guy and he moves pretty well for a big guy. He’s got solid puck skills and he has the range we need for a solid defensive defenseman.”

With Morin looking at a lengthy six-to-nine month recovery from a torn ACL, the organization needed to add a little more muscle within the farm system now that Robert Hagg has joined the Flyers full-time.

“It fell on our list,” Hextall said. “We had two guys, two defensemen, and it fell on our list, so it was good the way it worked out for us.”     

Unlike first-round pick center Jay O’Brien, who wasn’t projected to be taken in the first round, many draft experts believed Ginning had first-round potential before slipping to the Flyers midway through Round 2.

NHL Central Scouting had Ginning listed as the third-rated international defenseman behind only fellow Swedes Rasmus Dahlin, who went No. 1 to the Buffalo Sabres, and Adam Boqvist, taken eighth overall by the Blackhawks.

Ginning has a year remaining on his contract with Linköping HC of the Swedish Hockey League before he can come to North America, which may be to his benefit since his game has been more suited to the smaller NHL-sized rink.  

“I’ll take it as it comes,” Ginning said. “It depends how I play in Sweden now in the upcoming years. We’ll see what happens.”

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition