NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Saturday’s Stadium Series matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers from Lincoln Financial Field. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
PHILADELPHIA — Saturday night could be more than just Wayne Simmonds‘ third NHL outdoor game experience. It could be his final night in a Philadelphia Flyers’ jersey.
As Monday’s trade deadline approaches, the 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent could be on the move to any number of teams looking for some power play help and a big body up front. There have been links to the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, and Winnipeg Jets, among others.
There was a thought entering this season that Simmonds and the Flyers could work out an extension, but former general manager Ron Hextall was unable to, and right now it doesn’t appear as if new GM Chuck Fletcher has interest in re-signing him. As the team’s playoff hopes took a major hit this week with losses to Tampa Bay and Montreal, dealing away a pending UFA for futures is likely the preferred move here.
What jersey he’ll be wearing after 3 p.m. ET on Monday isn’t any concern for Simmonds right now, however. He’s keeping his focus on the Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 8 P.M. ET – NBC]
“It could be a possibility [it’s his last game] but I think up until this point I just try to go about my business as normally as possible,” Simmonds said after the Flyers’ Friday practice at Lincoln Financial Field. “I’m going to be thinking about winning the game, not if it’s my last game or not with the Flyers.”
Simmonds came to the Flyers in the 2011 blockbuster trade that sent Flyers captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. In eight seasons in Philadelphia he’s scored 203 goals and recorded 378 points, all while becoming a heart and soul player for the franchise.
Given the transition phase the team is in right now and Fletcher’s desire to reshape the roster to his liking, Simmonds’ value on the trade market will aid the GM in his plans.
Even if it’s his last game in the orange and black, Simmonds is still cemented in thought about the playoff chase the Flyers find themselves in for now.
“We have points to get to get back into this playoff race,” he said. “That’s all my brain is processing right now. The other stuff is what it is. All I can control is I’m a Philadelphia Flyer right now and I’ve got to prepare for a game [Saturday.]”
MORE 2019 STADIUM SERIES:
• Penguins ready to enjoy Stadium Series, but focus is on two points
• Why Scott Gordon chose Elliott over Hart for Stadium Series start
• Rain could be an issue for Penguins-Flyers Stadium Series game
• 2019 Stadium Series by the numbers
• Scott Hartnell Q&A
Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk (analyst), and Emmy Award-winner Pierre McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. Liam McHugh will anchor studio coverage on-site in Philadelphia alongside Mike Milbury, Keith Jones, and Jeremy Roenick.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.