BY BRANDON MURPHY
One of the few bright spots on the Philadelphia Flyers this season, Wayne Simmonds had quite the year on a team that failed to score goals at a consistent rate.
Since being acquired by the Flyers in a deal that sent captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles, Wayne Simmonds has been the most consistent goal scorer for the Orange & Black, leading the team in goals in every season but two: 2011-2012 when Scott Hartnell somehow managed to tuck 37 goals and in 2012-2013 when the season was shortened due to the lockout and Jake Voracek broke out. Since his arrival in 2011, Simmonds ranks 15th in goals (163) and second in power play goals behind none other than Alex Ovechkin.
Simmonds posted his first 30-goal season last year, tallying 32 goals in 81 games to lead the Flyers to the playoffs. During this campaign, Simmonds managed to hit the 30-goal plateau once again, which was far more impressive considering the Flyers were one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL and have a tendency to make backup goalies look like elite puck-stoppers.
Ghost’s bomb catches Simmonds in the knee then bounces in! It’s Wayne Simmonds’ 30th goal! pic.twitter.com/Rb5EPsP6TT
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) March 30, 2017
A fan favourite in Philadelphia, the ‘Wayne Train’ brings everything to the table. He can score, he can hit and he can fight. He is part of the rare breed of power forwards in hockey that everyone would love to have on their team. He never takes a night off, is lethal on the power play and has no problem going to the dirty areas. He is the definition of a Philadelphia Flyer.
Simmonds also has one of the best cap hits in the entire NHL, at only $3,975,000 per year for the next two seasons, his contract is something every general manager would love to have.
Wayne Simmonds and Shayne Gostisbehere play give-and-go on this beautiful goal. pic.twitter.com/3brt2LdPu8
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) April 10, 2017
Over the years, Simmonds has improved his skating and skill set a lot. When he’s in front of the net, he isn’t putting pucks in by luck, he has great hands down low and usually gets his best looks from there. It’s not a coincidence he had 16 power play goals this season (fourth in the NHL). Saying Simmonds is the best net-front presence in the league would not be an overstatement, it’s his office.
— NHL Euro News (@NHLEuro) March 16, 2017
His 21 goals and 38 points in his first 50 games were good enough to land him a spot at the NHL All-Star Game, his first appearance. The forward was named All-Star Game MVP and received a brand new truck.
Simmonds finished the final 32 games of the season with 10 goals and 6 assists on a Flyers team that was finished the season 20th in goals-for and goals-for per game. He is slowly getting recognition he deserves around the NHL and will continue to play his gritty, physical style that the Flyers faithful love seeing.