James van Riemsdyk signing could spell end for Simmonds with Flyers

Getty Images
8 Comments

The Philadelphia Flyers have added James van Riemsdyk to their top-six, thanks to a five-year, $35 million pact between the two sides. 

van Riemsdyk, who was originally drafted by the Flyers second overall in 2007, has spent the last six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 413 games with the Leafs, JVR scored 154 times and recorded 294 points — solid numbers for the 29-year-old forward.

The Flyers had the cap space (a little over $21 million, per Cap Friendly) to add a big piece or two entering free agency. General manager Ron Hextall has no big name unrestricted or restricted free agents to worry about re-signing, and now with van Riemsdyk in the fold he can add another piece or two up front and look for some additions on the blue line.

Those additions may not necessarily come through free agency, however.

This brings us to the status of Wayne Simmonds, who’s coming off his lowest point total (46) over the course of an 82-game season since 2011-12 (49). He’s coming off a year where he experienced a torn pelvis, pulled groin, broken ankle, broken teeth and a torn hand ligament. The team expects him to be healthy come training camp and this is a big season coming up for the soon-to-be-30-year-old.

As of July 1, Simmonds is eligible to sign an extension as he enters the final year of his contract. His current deal carries a $3.975 million cap hit for 2018-19, and with a healthy, productive bounce-back season, he’d be due for a nice raise. But now with van Riemsdyk in town, is there room for him in the lineup? Probably not, and with the needs still remaining for Hextall to resolve on the Flyers’ roster, Simmonds becomes an attractive piece of trade bait. Plus with a free agent market that’s pretty thin, a decent return could be had.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.