Toronto Maple Leafs: Wayne Simmonds’ extension has expansion draft implications

Wayne Simmonds #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Wayne Simmonds #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

After agreeing to an extension with Wayne Simmonds, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to make their plans for the upcoming expansion draft.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are bringing Wayne Simmonds back for another go signing the forward to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

Simmonds is taking a pay cut on the $1.5 million he made last season which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he didn’t have his most productive season with nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 38 games. Unfortunately, a broken wrist played into his struggles last season as he didn’t look like himself when he returned.

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This move comes at an interesting time as the Leafs recently agreed to a one-year extension with Jason Spezza and now have eight forwards that meet the criteria for the expansion draft. If the Leafs go the way of the seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie route they will have some decisions to make.

Did Toronto give Simmonds some guarantee that he won’t be exposed in exchange for a two-year deal or is he more attractive to Seattle with some term on his deal? Right now, the Leafs would be in a position to lose a player like Alexander Kerfoot who’s attractive with the versatility he provides or one of Justin Holl or Travis Dermott.

If Simmonds sticks around, which is likely the case, he gets another chance to show that he can get back to the form that saw him moved up to the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander. His offensive numbers aren’t flashy at all but Toronto brought him in to be a presence in the locker room and bring some grit on the ice.

What the Leafs also need to do is manage Simmonds’ workload a bit better considering he isn’t the fastest player on the ice and it’s clear some of the veterans struggled to keep up late in the season. For Simmonds to be effective, he needs to use his tenacity and be more of a net-front presence because that’s where he enjoyed most of his success.

Over the years, Toronto has found ways to get the most out of their veteran forwards making around league minimum but now need to consider getting some of their younger players on entry-level deals to contribute. That includes making Adam Brooks more of a full-time player, Joey Anderson or Nick Robertson to name a few.

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What are your thoughts on Simmonds returning? Do you see him getting exposed in the expansion draft? Let us know in the comments below.