Right winger Wayne Simmonds, acquired in the 2011 deal that sent Mike Richards to Los Angeles, has been called the “ultimate Flyer” by many of his coaches because of his aggressive style and the way he has defended his teammates.
His eight-year stint with the Flyers -- which has included seasons of 28 (twice), 29, 31 and 32 goals -- might come to an end when they play Pittsburgh on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
A prospective free agent this summer, the 30-year-old Simmonds, one of the league’s best leaders, is expected to be dealt before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
“Up until this point, I try to go about my business as normally as possible,” Simmonds said after the Flyers’ practice Friday evening at the Linc. “I’m thinking about winning the game, not if it’s my last game or not. We have points to get to get back into this playoff race. That’s all my brain is processing right now. The other stuff is what it is. All I can control is that I’m a Philadelphia Flyer right now and preparing for the game.”
Simmonds’ trade value might have dipped recently. He has just one goal in his last 15 games and is a team-worst minus-20 for the season. He is fourth on the team with 16 goals.
With rain in the forecast, it’s fair to wonder if general manager Chuck Fletcher would want to sit Simmonds to avoid an injury to a player he apparently plans to deal.
Fletcher was not available to comment.
The forecast looks ominous, but the NHL is still planning to play Saturday’s game at 8 p.m., according to a statement issued Friday afternoon.
The league said it was “monitoring the conditions and, as of now, the game is still on as originally scheduled.
Rain is forecast to hit Philadelphia on Saturday evening and continue heavy through the night.
The NHL said it would issue an update by noon Saturday.
The league has produced 25 outdoor games since 2008 and has never had to cancel any of them because of weather.
If Saturday’s game is postponed, it would be played Sunday at a time to be determined.
At practice, interim coach Scott Gordon scrambled the lines. The top unit had Claude Giroux back at left wing with Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny. The other lines: Sean Couturier centering Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek; Scott Laughton centering Michael Raffl and Simmonds; and Phil Varone centering James van Riemsdyk and Justin Bailey.