Whatever chatter has been out there regarding the New Jersey Devils and the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline has been mostly around Wayne Simmonds and Vancouver. However, things have cooled off in recent days. However, Simmonds was indeed dealt on the deadline. Simmonds is heading to upstate New York in very strange deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
The full details are here from CapFriendly. It was initially broken on Twitter by many, I saw it first from Frank Seravalli of TSN.
TRADE— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 24, 2020
To Buffalo #Sabres
F Wayne Simmonds (50% retained)
To New Jersey #Devils
2021 conditional 5th round pick*
*Can upgrade to a 4th round pick if Buffalo makes the playoffs and Simmonds plays in 10 games.https://t.co/pOmLyOX15A
I am have trouble trying to square this particular circle. A fifth round pick is middling. A fifth round pick in a draft from a year from now is worth even less. The condition of Buffalo making the playoffs is incredibly unlikely. As of this post, Buffalo has a record of 29-25-8 for 66 points. They are behind Florida (70 points), Our Hated Rivals (70 points), and Columbus (74 points) in the wild card race in the East. Third place in the Atlantic is held by Toronto (72 points). Buffalo is going to have play like they are on fire to have a chance at the postseason. Even if that does happen somehow, the conditional pick becomes a fourth - which is still not worth much at all. So I am expecting the pick to remain as a fifth round pick in 2021. The Devils get all of that “not much” in exchange for Simmonds with the Devils retaining half of Simmonds’ remaining salary.
I really do not understand how this benefits the Devils in anyway. The extra pick is a long-shot and it is not even for this year. It seems more like a favor to someone to make a deal possible. Also, if the Devils were willing to retain 50% of Simmonds’ salary, then why did Vancouver back off?
At the same time, I can understand that Simmonds would not draw a lot in a deal. He has not had a great season in NJ by any means. He has been a third-line winger with just eight goals out of just 64 shots for a shooting percentage of just about 7.3%. His power play prowess has not come to fruition, although you can thank the coaching staff for overthinking things and not keeping Simmonds as a pivot at a post, which is where he has made his money for most of his career. Per Natural Stat Trick, when Simmonds was on the ice, the Devils took 46.36% of the attempts on the ice, 47.29% of the shots, 43.15% of the scoring chances, and 38.46% of the goals. His on-ice xGF% was just 45.91%. In other words, he did not help push the play forward when he was on the ice. He was just a guy on a bad 5-on-5 team. It is not a surprise that a player having a season like that would not return a lot in a deal.
To that end, I also question why Buffalo decided to make a deal for Simmonds. Sure, it was cheap on their end. You pick up a player not playing well this season to do what? Continue to flounder along with Montreal in the Atlantic? Even if the Sabres make a push in the standings in March, is it likely going to be driven by Wayne Simmonds?
My initial conclusion to this trade is that this was a deal made just to make a deal. I can understand those who state that since Simmonds is a pending unrestricted free agent, the Devils should get whatever they could for him. They did that. The “whatever” is very, very little. It is akin to how fans at the Rock will scream “SHOOT” anytime a player has a puck with a modicum of space; and the shot does happen - and it is super-low percentage shot from the blueline that is fired into four bodies and the puck never gets anywhere the net. If you wanted Simmonds to be dealt, then you got it. But if you are not pleased with the return, then this should be a lesson to those who say that a player should be dealt away at any cost. As for me, if this was the offer, then I would have preferred that the Devils would keep Simmonds. At least for a few more hours. Given that there were three hours left at the deadline, maybe someone could have came in and offered at least a fifth rounder in 2020.
That’s my take on the trade of Simmonds to Buffalo for a conditional fifth rounder in 2021. We could see Simmonds again this season; the Devils will host Buffalo on April 2 on Fan Appreciation Night (a.k.a. last home game of the season). What is your take on this deal? Feel free to share your thoughts about this deal in the comments. As well as vote in our flash poll (ends at 7 PM ET today). Thank you for reading.
The Devils traded Wayne Simmonds to Buffalo for a conditional 5th round pick in 2021. What is your initial reaction?
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I love it!
I like the deal.
I’m in the middle / I don’t know
I don’t like the deal.
I hate it!