Welcome to Wayne’s World

Posted: September 28, 2011 by Crimespree Hockey in Philadelphia Flyers, Trade
Tags: , , , , , ,

This guest post was written by John Russo, of the blog Team to Beat.

A wrecking ball, a playmaker, a game changer.

When I think of the Flyers newly acquired winger Wayne Simmonds, I keep repeating those phrases in my head.

As soon as I read that Mike Richards was being shopped, my heart sank. There goes a guy who provides a spark offensively and defensively who can also tally 30 goals. But after reading the return, “… for C Brayden Schenn, LW Wayne Simmonds, 3rd round pick…,” I nearly fell out of my chair. Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers not only managed to pry away a top prospect from the Kings for Richards but also Wayne Simmonds? This city is going to fall in love with him!

Okay, enough of the ecstatic recount of my obvious fandom towards Simmonds. Though Schenn, Ilya Bryzgalov (signed) and Jakub Voracek (acquired from Columbus for Jeff Carter) are three of the most glittery moves made this off season by the Flyers, the biggest impact player may come from the guy now wearing the #17 jersey.

I swear for 60 minutes in the Flyers first preseason game that Simmonds never left the ice. All I heard and saw was Simmonds flying around the ice, hitting people and trying to make things happen. By playing on the third line, Simmonds can give the Flyers 15 hard minutes a game as well as play on the penalty kill. His defense is the best aspect of his game and that will give head coach Peter Laviolette even more reasons to keep Simmonds out on the ice.

If Simmonds is paired this year with his teammate from LA in Schenn and the newly signed Maxime Talbot, they could create an incredibly scary third line that would be amazing for the development of Schenn. Those two are going to create opportunities out the wazoo for Schenn, who the Flyers project could be the 70-point scorer vacated by Richards.

If you look on the Flyers top projected line, you have Scott Hartnell working with Danny Briere and Voracek. Briere is an excellent scorer and will need to lead the Flyers goal tallies this year, especially with Carter gone. Voracek is a playmaker as well, setting up plays with nice passes and will provide Schenn chances to score. Hartnell’s role on that line is to create the turnovers on the forecheck and allow Briere and Voracek to light the lamp. That is exactly the role Simmonds will have on the checking line, or the “third line”.

Simmonds tallied only 70 points the last two seasons with the Kings but 30 of those points have been goals. Simmonds does have the scoring touch, but he would prefer to dish out hits, create turnovers and get his teammates the puck rather than light the lamp 30 times a year. But that’s not saying Simmonds isn’t capable. His physical play will also allow him to get down low, capitalize on rebounds and tally up the garbage goals. That is something the Flyers need on their power play, without having to put a big body down there like defenseman Chris Pronger. Simmonds will fight for those rebounds like Hartnell and having that on two lines is going to be huge for the Flyers.

And as we’ve seen the other night, Simmonds can be called upon in shoot out situations. He has a good shot without the need for any fancy moves, just like the person he was traded for this summer.

Simmonds is going to make a lot of people forget out their beloved captain lost over the summer. But instead of trying to fill Richards’ shoes, Simmonds will wear his own and make the City of Brotherly Love swoon over their new favorite two-way forward.

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