Nashville Predators

2019 NHL free agency: Did Devils overpay Wayne Simmonds with 1-year, $5 million contract?

2019 NHL free agency: Did Devils overpay Wayne Simmonds with 1-year, $5 million contract?

Wayne Simmonds got paid … sort of.

The beloved former Flyer signed with the Devils on Monday. He'll make $5 million in 2019-20, but the contract is for only one season.

So it's some prove-it time for Simmonds, who turns 31 years old in August.

"At the end of the day this is a business, right?" Simmonds said, via Amanda Stein of NewJerseyDevils.com. "I got traded last year at the deadline, so I feel a little bit removed from Philly. But you're right, I spent a lot of time there. I enjoyed my time there, but it's time to move on and time to get going. I thought Jersey was the perfect place for me."

Simmonds' base salary last season was $5 million, but his six-year, $23.8 million contract had an average annual value of $3.975 million. It became a bargain once Simmonds turned into a two-time 30-goal scorer. Since 2013-14, Simmonds owns the NHL's second-most power-play goals (74), behind only Alex Ovechkin (120).

Simmonds, though, has been a much different player over the past two seasons. A max-heart kind of guy, Simmonds has put his body through the wringer. In 2017-18, he endured a tear in his pelvic area, fractured ankle, pulled groin, busted mouth (twice) and a torn ligament in his thumb, but missed only seven games.

Last season, during the playoffs with the Predators, his year ended with taking a shot to the knee. Between time with the Flyers and Predators, Simmonds scored his fewest goals (17) and points (30) in a full season since 2010-11, when he was with the Kings.

Did the Devils overpay Simmonds?

Well, New Jersey had a ton of cap space and has made it clear it doesn't mind spending. The Devils traded for 30-year-old defenseman P.K. Subban, who has a $9 million cap hit for the next three seasons. 

New Jersey wants to be relevant again. Simmonds is a name, he can have an endless impact on a locker room and he can play up and down the lineup with his style as a power forward. The Devils have young talent and Simmonds can help.

Is $5 million a lot? Sure, but look at some of the contracts given out Monday. $5 million for one season of Simmonds isn't all that bad of a deal. Guys like Tyler Myers and Mats Zuccarello are getting $6 million a season for five years. New Jersey won't be kicking itself over paying Simmonds for one.

However, seeing him in Devils red will be odd.

Simmonds will return to Philadelphia on Oct. 9. He will play the Flyers four times in 2019-20.

And each time, it will be super weird watching him in that Devils jersey. 

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Predators' Wayne Simmonds week to week with injury

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Predators' Wayne Simmonds week to week with injury

It takes a lot to keep Wayne Simmonds off the ice.

If you recall, he missed only seven games in 2017-18 despite a tear in his pelvic area, a fractured ankle, pulled groin, busted mouth (twice) and a torn ligament in his thumb.

In Game 2 of the Predators-Stars 2019 first-round playoff series, Simmonds took a shot right to his knee. He is considered week to week with a lower-body injury.

We'll have to wait and see when Simmonds can rejoin the lineup for Nashville, which continues its series with Dallas on Monday night.

Below is the full schedule for Day 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (tied 1-1)
Game 3, Eastern Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes (WSH 2-0)
Game 3, Eastern Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: CNBC | Live stream here

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (tied 1-1)
Game 3, Western Conference first round
9:30 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche (tied 1-1)
Game 3, Western Conference first round
10 p.m. ET | TV: CNBC | Live stream here

Wayne Simmonds scores his first goal with Predators

Wayne Simmonds scores his first goal with Predators

Wayne Simmonds had gone goalless in his first eight games with the Predators.

Add on his final 16 games with the Flyers and Simmonds entered Tuesday night with just one goal over his last 24 games.

However, anyone would tell you the Predators acquired Simmonds from the Flyers at the Feb. 25 trade deadline for much more than goals. His impact goes beyond numbers. It's hard to find a better locker-room guy — and that's more than just a cliché; those type of players are valued, especially for contending teams eyeing advantages at the margins.

Jakub Voracek called Simmonds his best friend. Claude Giroux called him the "ultimate warrior" and "best teammate." The Flyers' captain was even at a loss for words when talking about Simmonds following the Feb. 23 Stadium Series win, their final game together.

That night, from the Eagles' locker room in Lincoln Financial Field, Simmonds took the time to shake the hands of media members, who wanted to wish him well.

Classy and respected by everyone.

But Simmonds can still put the puck in the net, too. He did so for the first time with his new team when he lit the lamp in Nashville's 3-0 victory Tuesday night over the Maple Leafs.

To see the joy on his face, it had to be a relief. 

The Predators have won three straight and are trying to catch the Jets for first place in the Central Division.

Soon, Simmonds will be playing postseason hockey.

Don't be surprised to see him right in the middle of things.

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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