The dust has settled and we’ve finally gotten a glimpse of Ryan Hartman and Wayne Simmonds on their new teams. It is always difficult to say goodbye to a player like Simmonds, who bled Orange and Black and proved to be an invaluable teammate over the years, but Hartman will settle in just fine and allow the Flyers to explore more options this summer.
It’s hard to accept, but it was time for Simmonds to be traded. I might even go as far as saying this trade was two years too late. The Flyers weren’t able to maximize the return for The Wayne Train, mainly due to the high-end talent on the market and the assets they were traded for.
Had Simmonds been traded after his 31-goal season, they could have gotten a great return, but the decision would have been a hard one to explain. With that being said, the Flyers got fair value for the 2018-19 Simmonds. Many people overrated his value (myself included) because of his intangibles, but the thing is: Intangibles aren’t worth as much as people think.
When you remove intangibles from the equation, Simmonds is a third line player. His possession metrics are not particularly good, he is somewhat of a liability in the defensive zone and his puck management is incredibly frustrating at times. All this tallied up gives him 16 goals and 27 points this season, a 35-point pace which would be his lowest in a full season since 2010-11.
Factor in the intangibles that make Simmonds a valuable commodity, and you’ve still got a third liner who likes to hit, go to the front of the net to score the dirty goals, and stand up for his teammates. But these things are not worth a high-end prospect and picks.
I understand that Simmonds was the heart and soul of the team and that he was beloved by everyone, but the return they got for him was fair and had Chuck Fletcher waited a little longer, they would have gotten nothing. Is he still a UFA possibility? Of course. But the Flyers should look at adding an impact forward like Artemi Panarin or Jeff Skinner.
What to Expect
Ryan Hartman is a 24-year-old who will be an RFA after this season. He was a first-round pick back in 2013 and had success with the Blackhawks before going to Nashville. He plays with the same kind of grit that Simmonds does, as we saw during his first game when he properly introduced himself to Philadelphia.
So we know he isn’t afraid to throw his weight around, despite being 6-foot, 180 pounds. This season, his ice time on the Predators was cut by Peter Laviolette, but he still managed to score 20 points ( all at even-strength, one more than Simmonds). What else does he bring? Speed. Hartman’s game is better suited for the NHL nowadays. He is a better skater than Simmonds and that speed came into play in his first game when raced down the ice and won a puck battle that led to a van Riemsdyk goal.
Another underrated aspect: he draws penalties. Hartman is 19th in the NHL in drawn penalties with 24. This is another good factor, but it comes with a price. He has a reputation that won’t always benefit him when trying to draw calls. He was whistled for embellishment in his first game.
Now package this with some of his skill, and you’ve got a pretty good player. Is he first line good? No. But he certainly fits in the lineup nicely and can keep up with today’s speed. His first point as a Flyer was beautiful.
JvR again, 2-0. Unreal pass by Hartman, wow! pic.twitter.com/ywiwfDB5pL
— Brandon Murphy (@2Murphy8) March 2, 2019
As someone who absolutely adored Simmonds, I wanted to see Fletcher pull more for him. But the market was set very low and what the Flyers got was fine. You can argue the fact that Hartman is worth more than a low first round pick. If used in the right situations, I believe Hartman can be a very good contributor for the Flyers. In his three games, he’s started in the offensive zone 57% of the time, so he’s not being leaned on for defensive assignments. If he shoots the puck as much as he did in Chicago (career-high 170 SOG), we’ll see him hit that 20-goal plateau frequently.
Don’t count Hartman out yet. He is going to cost a lot less than Simmonds and can bring a lot to the table. The Flyers will be able to use that money on a better player.
Photos by Kate Frese