Spotlight on the Opponent: Wayne Simmonds

What: Philadelphia at Detroit
When: Wednesday, December 4, 8:00 p.m. (TV: NBCSN)

Wayne Simmonds

Wayne Simmonds would have fit in very nicely with the Philadelphia Flyers’ “Broad Street Bullies” teams of the mid-to-late-1970s.

Simmonds is a Flyer of today—6’2″, 210 pounds of toughness mixed in with some scoring punch, along with some fist punches.

Simmonds is 25 years old but has already played in almost 400 NHL games. He debuted with the LA Kings in 2008 as a 20-year-old.

In those nearly 400 games, which equate to about five full NHL seasons, Simmonds has averaged 17 goals and 102 penalty minutes for every 80 games played.

Those are numbers that would have been perfect complements to scorers like MacLeish, Clarke, Leach, et al, back in the day.

Simmonds is like the Paul Holmgren or Mel Bridgman of today’s Flyers, to invoke the names of two franchise players of the past whose combination of scoring pop and grit helped make those Flyers teams the bane of the NHL.

Simmonds busted out, offensively, in 2011-12 when he pumped in 28 goals in his first season as a Flyer, having been traded by the Kings to Philly in June 2011. The deal netted the Kings Mike Richards.

Simmonds’ nickname is the Wayne Train. He was born in Scarborough, Ontario. Despite growing up close to Toronto, Simmonds, who is of Black Nova Scotia descent, has said he was a fan of the Red Wings as a youngster.

Last month, with the Flyers freefalling, Simmonds’ name popped up in trade rumors, supposedly with the Edmonton Oilers. He read them, but didn’t let the trade talk bother him. Instead, he focused on his current team, not one that he might be traded to.

“We’ve got a good squad in here,” Simmonds was quoted on Delawareonline.com. “ The onus is on us to play. We’ve already had a coaching change. It’s time that the players start owning up to what’s going on here. We’ve got to be responsible.”

Simmonds wears no. 17 for the Flyers.

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