Wayne Simmonds said he knows hockey is a business, but...
He thinks he deserved better from the Flyers.
The 31-year-old right winger is coming off a disappointing season in which he was dealt to Nashville for Ryan Hartman at the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He didn’t get many offers when he became a free-agent July 1 and ended up signing a one-year deal with New Jersey for $5 million.
The Flyers didn’t make an offer, and that perturbed Simmonds, who faced the Flyers in their home opener Wednesday.
“I put so much time and sweat and tears into this organization,” he said before the Devils dropped a 4-0 decision to the Flyers. “I thought I did everything I could possibly do to at least get a bit of an extension. But it is a business at the same time. It all just [stinks] to hear that you’re obviously not thought of how you think you’re thought of."
Simmonds scored a combined 17 goals with the Flyers (16) and Nashville (1) last season, a year, he said, he was physically not himself because of a slew of injuries -- a broken right ankle, a core-muscle tear, torn thumb ligaments, dental work after he lost six teeth from getting hit with a stick -- in 2017-18.
In his seven-plus seasons with the Flyers, Simmonds scored 203 goals in 584 regular-season games from 2011-12 to 2018-19. No Flyer scored more goals in that span.
Simmonds said most of the contract dealings his agent had with then-general manager Ron Hextall "didn’t go too well. So when Chuck Fletcher, [the new GM] came in, I think it was a little too far along at that point. I think they were looking to recoup [assets]. Obviously I was the player -- I don’t know how to say it -- that they didn’t want ... but I’m ready to play hockey this year.”
He called last season “awful” but added he has “complete faith in myself whether I had to take a one-year deal or whatever, I really didn’t care because I know I’m gong to come back and be a great player this year. To me, it was what it was. I had to find a team that was willing to take a chance on me.”
On a personal note, Simmonds and his wife, Crystal, welcomed their first child, a daughter named Kori, four months ago, and he said it has changed his life for the better. “She consumes 99 percent of our day and that’s all it’s about it right now. It’s great," he said.
Starting Saturday in Vancouver, the Flyers play their next three games in Western Canada. They also face Calgary and Edmonton. When the trip is completed, they will have traveled nearly 13,600 miles to play their first five games, including the season-opener in Prague. … New Flyers coach Alain Vigneault spent seven years as Vancouver’s head coach and led the Canucks, who are now in their 50th season, to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. … Shayne Gostisbehere played in his 300th career game Wednesday. ... Robert Hagg had six hits and three blocked shots.