Though a year remained on the two-year contract he originally signed with the Flyers, Wayne Simmonds said he was more than willing to listen when general manager Paul Holmgren initiated talks about an extension.
"Since I've come to Philadelphia, it's been a great place for me," the right winger said in a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. "Obviously, this is a place I want to be for a long time."
Simmonds, 23, agreed to a six-year contract extension that is believed to be worth about $4 million per season. The new deal begins in the 2013-14 season.
In 2011-12, Simmonds, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings last summer as part of the Mike Richards trade, produced a career-high 28 goals and 21 assists while playing in all 82 games.
Simmonds is scheduled to make about $2 million this season. "I don't feel pressure [with the new deal]," he said, "but, obviously, I'm going to go out there and work as hard as I can every day, whether it's on the ice or it's off the ice. I think I'm going to continue to progress as a player and do everything I can to help the Philadelphia Flyers win."
In 322 NHL games, Simmonds, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, has 67 goals and 75 assists.
"I played on every single line last season," he said. "I'm willing to play wherever Lavi [coach Peter Laviolette] puts me."
Can Simmonds increase his point total from last season?
"That would be nice," he said. "We certainly have the talent on our team. Honestly, I don't think it matters who you play with on our team. Everyone is great. We have four great centers, and we're surrounded by talent."
A possible NHL lockout is looming, with the collective bargaining agreement expiring on Sept. 15. Commissioner Gary Bettman recently said there was a "wide gap" between the league and its players' association on several issues.
Said Simmonds, "We presented a proposal to the league, and I don't think the players want to strike by any means."