The Wayne Train’s next stop is Newark, N.J.
Right winger Wayne Simmonds, who became a fan favorite because of his scoring and gritty play during his eight seasons with the Flyers, signed a one-year, $5 million contract Monday with the rival New Jersey Devils.
The Devils happen to be the Flyers’ opponent in their home opener Oct. 9.
Simmonds is projected to play on the Devils’ second line, which could include center Jack Hughes, the No. 1 overall selection in the recent NHL draft, and left winger Jesper Bratt.
The Devils have had a busy offseason. They selected Hughes after winning the draft lottery, then acquired star defenseman P.K. Subban from Nashville. Subban and Simmonds were Nashville teammates for a few months last season.
Simmonds, an alternate captain with the Flyers and a person who was active in community charity work, recently won the NHL’s Messier Leadership Award.
But his price tag was much too high to interest the cap-strapped Flyers.
In his eight years with the Flyers, Simmonds symbolized the team’s heart and soul. He was the team’s best leader before being dealt to Nashville late last February for the since-traded Ryan Hartman and a fourth-round selection in 2020.
Simmonds struggled mightily after the trade, collecting just one goal and two assists in 17 games with the Predators, who thought he would ignite their stagnant power play.
All told, Simmonds finished last season with 17 goals, including 16 with the Flyers.
He will try to show that last season was an aberration and that he still has something left in the tank.
In 2011, Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were acquired in the stunning deal that sent captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles. Schenn helped St. Louis win the Stanley Cup last month.
Simmonds, who turns 31 on Aug. 26, scored 28, 15 (in a lockout-shortened season), 29, 28, 32, 31, and 24 goals in his first seven seasons with the Flyers.