14. Wayne Simmonds (76 pts)
At 14th, Wayne Simmonds is a curious case. For starters, he’s never finished a season positive in +/-. Another is he might be the fastest, hardest, toughest two-way winger I’ve ever seen. Simmonds plays a very tough game with lots of energy. He loves to hit and instigate physical play, akin to Marcus Foligno and is also smart defensively. He also possesses a good shot and can score some goals from the faceoff circle or sideboards or by bullying his way to the net.
Wayne could bring a physicality to the Wild that hasn’t been seen since Derek Boogaard (may he rest peacefully). In previous seasons, it has increasingly felt that opponents have been able to abuse the body against Minnesota. With Jordan Greenway establishing himself as a promising power forward and Marcus Foligno well established as one, adding Wayne Simmonds would be able to cement the Wild as a physical powerhouse, something that hasn’t been used to define a Minnesota hockey team in a while. Also, we shouldn’t forget, Matt Dumba really used the body well during his short time on the ice this season.
Wayne Simmonds averages about 43 points per year (22 goals, 21 assists), 16:05 TOI per game, and 137 hits per season. He scored well because of the number of goals he scored last year (17), his age (30), the number of games he played (79), and is right-handed. I thoroughly believe he should have scored better because of the teams he was on this past season. Philadelphia struggled throughout the year with a revolving door of goalies (EIGHT THIS SEASON) and Nashville going from Central Division monsters to merely pay rent for first in the division, even though St. Louis, Dallas, and Colorado all arguably played better than them.
In 17 games with Nashville, Simmonds only had 1 goal and 2 assists. In 62 games with Philly, Simmonds had 16 goals and 11 assists and was beloved by everyone in that locker room and fans who wore a Flyers jersey. I would imagine a contract would look like a 3 to 4 year deal with a cap hit of $3.5-$4 Million a year. I would be genuinely excited to see Wayne Simmonds in the Green and Wheat, but I’m wary if it would propel the Wild transform the Wild into a serious contender.