(Photo: Kate Frese)
It’s no secret, but when you just look at how he plays, right wing Wayne Simmonds is the true definition of being a Philadelphia Flyer. He was a full-on offensive threat, both during even strength and on the power play.
In 584 games played for the Flyers, Simmonds had collected 203 goals and 175 assists for 378 total points, including 91 goals and 60 assists on the power play. Simmonds played in nearly every game each season even when he was plagued with injuries.
With Simmonds now gone, we take a look back at the timeline of “Simmer’s” career as a member of the Orange and Black.
Simmonds always had the tough guy mentality and was not afraid to drop the gloves if he had to. A majority of time, you would see an orange or white jersey come flying in to a scrum -- if he didn’t already start it -- and he was always willing to stick up for his teammates, whether it was delivering a big hit to an opposing player, or fight them right then and there. Prior to the 2014-15 season, the Flyers parted with of both of their alternate captains in Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen. So when it was time, the team needed to name a new alternate captain. Sure enough, Simmonds was the player that received the honor after showing what type of player he is on and off the ice.
April 24, 2014 - Down 3-2 in the playoff series at home against the New York Rangers, something had to happen if the Flyers were to keep their playoff hopes alive. Simmonds deliver in what was probably his best game ever for Philadelphia. He scored relatively early in the first period, reaching for a rebound and sliding the puck past Henrik Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead, which already got the fans in the bubbling orange cauldron to erupt. However, as the game carried on Simmonds scored not once but twice more, causing the roof of the Wells Fargo Center to explode with hats raining down from the stands. Fans knew right then and there that there would be a Game 7 played the next day at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Jan. 2017 – One of the highest honors in the career of an NHL player is to be named to the All-Star game, but an even higher honor is being named the MVP. Simmonds did just that as his All-Star game performance. Even Pittsburgh Penguins captain and teammate during the game Sidney Crosby had nothing but high praise for his long-time foe.
"Having played against him over the years, I think I understand how good he is and what he brings," Metropolitan Division captain Sidney Crosby said. "He's got great hands, speed, goes to the net really hard and there aren't too many guys that have the mean streak and toughness that he has. All those things combined, it's well-deserved. There's a reason why he's here."
He was a true warrior and gave it his all each and every game. A perfect example of how hard No. 17 battled, was last season as he went through an unbelievable amount of injuries in just one season.
The injuries first began during training camp, when he injured his pelvis. That injury would lead to more, which included a pulled groin, fractured ankle, torn ligament in his thumb -- which required multiple pins to be put in his hand after surgery -- and also underwent a four-hour dental surgery to repair several of his teeth that were knocked out over the course of the season. Despite all of this, he only missed seven games from his hand injury, while somehow still picking up 46 points, 24 goals and 22 assists, in 75 games.
February 23, 2019 – In what was his last game as a Flyer, Simmonds did not disappoint as from the very get go he played his heart out.
The biggest moment that stood out that changed the tide of the game was when he rocked Brian Dumoulin into the boards with a thunderous hit, thus creating a pile of players going after each other. Even when the team seemed down and out, he never gave up and played his hardest.
During the post-game celebration, everyone in the locker room knew that it was his last game as well, and it did not go unnoticed. Oskar Lindblom the player of the game from their previous victory handed captain Claude Giroux the helmet who then said that he could not accept it and passed it over to Jake Voracek. Voracek who was acquired on the same day as Simmonds, passed it to him following an emotional mini speech about how much of an impact Simmonds has had on this organization over the years.
"The energy he brings, whether it’s a hit or a fight or whatever it might be, his enthusiasm on the bench,’’ interim head coach Scott Gordon said. "I don’t know what is going to happen moving forward with him. But I’m certainly hoping he’s here with us. He provides us with a lot. And whatever appreciation I had for him before I got the job here, I have more now.’’
The city of Philadelphia will forever be grateful for the way Simmonds served as a representative with the passion and will that embody the city. His leadership, hard work and determination over the last eight years simply set him apart. And we wish him nothing but the best moving forward for that.