Wayne Simmonds of the Toronto Maple Leafs could be out for an extended period of time due to injury. This is devastating for a player who was having something of a renaissance after several disappointing seasons. He could be out as long as six weeks, which would eliminate his availability for much of the remaining regular season. Elliotte Friedman announced the potential absence early Sunday morning.
Not liking what I’m hearing on Wayne Simmonds. Could be six weeks…just brutal, was having such a strong season in return home.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 7, 2021
Maple Leafs Lose Wayne Simmonds
The 32-year-old Simmonds was off to a strong start in 2020-21. He had five goals in 12 games along with 19 hits. His recent performances were strong enough to earn 13-14 minutes of ice time, but he was still averaging just 11:03 per contest. Scoring often in limited time while also having below-average possession numbers is probably unsustainable, but still impressive. It certainly helped that almost 60 percent of his zone starts came on offence where he could play with some of Toronto’s established stars.
The Los Angeles Kings originally drafted Simmonds in the second round of the 2007 Draft. He debuted for them in 2008-09 and posted a respectable nine goals and 23 points in 82 games. The Kings would play Simmonds for several years before trading him to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011. Simmonds has ultimately played for six NHL franchises in 13 seasons. He has collected 203 goals and 378 points in 584 games. It’s been an impressive run and helps make Simmonds one of the most productive players from his draft class. He is seventh in career points among players from the 2007 group.
How Toronto Replaces Simmonds
Toronto is fortunate they have been active in acquiring forward depth because they will need it. Simmonds is just the latest injury to the group after Joe Thornton and Nicholas Robertson fell earlier this year. The Leafs were already using players off of their taxi squad, but this latest injury is an opportunity for Alexander Barabanov or Pierre Engvall to return to the lineup. It’s also not impossible that the team makes a trade for an experienced top-nine skater depending on how long Simmonds is ruled out.
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