Tampa Bay Lightning: Don’t Trade For Wayne Simmonds

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been linked to Philadelphia power forward Wayne Simmonds.

Simmonds would be a solid middle six option for any contending NHL team looking for a little more physicality. However, I don’t see the fit in Tampa. .

Wayne Simmonds

So far this season, Simmonds has recorded 27 points through 62 games, with 16 of those points being goals. He has a -20 +/- as well, despite being on a solid Flyers team. In addition, Simmonds has a 48.6 Corsi For %, far below average, with a relative CF of -1.2. Simmonds’ Fenwick For % is also bad, at 48.8, giving him a relative FF of -1.5.

The Scarborough, Ontario native has racked up 90 penalty minutes, giving him an average of 1:45 penalty minutes per game. It’s pretty much a given that Simmonds will sit in the sin bin at least once per game. But, that comes with being a power forward.

It’s odd that general manager Julien BriseBois is looking for a physical specimen when he’s got many  grinders and hard-hitting, tone setters on his roster.

Ryan Callahan, although he is a scratch on the roster right now, is that kind of player. There also is Yanni Gourde, who is a gritty player but also has offensive upside. Plus, you can’t forget about include Anthony Cirelli, Adam Erne, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn and Danick Martel. Most of the players that I’ve mentioned have put up better possession stats/CF% than Simmonds.

But, if the Lightning are looking to make a trade, there are much better options that BriseBois should look at.

On the figure below, I selected several Lightning players, Simmonds, Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators, Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers and Kyle Clifford of the Los Angeles Kings.

Visual created by Bill Comeau

As you can see from Bill Comeau’s SKATR Plots , he ranks higher than only Cedric Paquette, who is the Lightning’s fourth line center. However, he ranks the same as Callahan and every other Lightning player. Meanwhile, Stone, Kreider and Clifford all project far ahead of Simmonds in just about every facet.

Comparing Simmonds to Clifford, Stone and Kreider

In the below diagrams from Comeau, you’ll see that Clifford, Stone and Kreider all fare much better than Simmonds. All three players are better all-around. Clifford is arguably the worst out of the three, but he’s posted better possession stats, individual shots and individual expected goals than Simmonds. Clifford also doesn’t play as much as Simmonds. 

Stone is highly sought after and will cost quite a bit. The Lightning would have to part with a decent amount to come close to landing Stone.

Instead, they should be targeting Kreider. Per the diagrams, Kreider has been more effective than Clifford and Simmonds, but a tad worse than Stone.

Figure 1 (Simmonds vs Clifford)

Visual Created By Bill Comeau

Figure 2 (Simmonds vs Kreider)

Visual Created By Bill Comeau

Figure 3 (Simmonds vs Stone)

Visual Created By Bill Comeau

What The Lightning Should Do

Okay, fine, the Lightning want somebody with physicality and experience. They also don’t want someone with too high of a cap hit. Fine. But, not Wayne Simmonds. Instead, the Lightning should attempt to grab Kreider.

He has roughly 3% higher of a CF%, and just under 1 million USD over Simmonds cap hit. However, Kreider’s contract doesn’t end at the conclusion of the season, making him sort of like JT Miller 2.0. Speaking of Miller, the Lightning and New York Rangers have been trading partners on multiple occasions, so it would make sense if that connection continued. Plus, the experience factor can be checked off too. While Simmonds has played just 42 postseason games in his career, recording 21 points, Kreider has played 77 career postseason games, recording 37 points. Kreider has out-produced Simmonds in the regular season this year as well, with 46 points in 61 games.

In Conclusion…

Please Julien BriseBois, do not trade for the 30-year-old, struggling and under-producing Wayne Simmonds. Instead, go for the younger, 27-year-old Chris Kreider, who plays with a physical edge, and has produced at a much higher rate in all three zones. They’ll both garner just about the same asking price as well. Stats don’t lie, and Kreider is the far more valuable player here.

All stats via hockey-reference

Graphs from public.tableau via Bill Comeau

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

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