According to TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun, the Canucks are interested in New Jersey Devils forward Wayne Simmonds as the Feb. 24 NHL Trade Deadline approaches.
On the latest version of Insider Trading, LeBrun reports that the Canucks may trade for Simmonds if Michael Ferland doesn’t get healthy soon. Ferland has been out of the lineup since Dec. 10 with an upper-body injury and was recently assigned to AHL Utica for a conditioning assignment.
INSIDER TRADING: ##TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) February 6, 2020
Ferland was supposed to be a key contributor for the Canucks this season, but injuries have limited him to just 14 games. The Canucks signed the power forward to a four-year contract with an average annual value of $3.5 million this offseason. The expectation was Ferland was going to provide an intimidating physical presence and also score a healthy amount of goals.
It isn’t very surprising that the Canucks are now interested in a player like Simmonds. The former Flyer plays a very similar style to Ferland and would be a quality replacement if Ferland happens to be ruled out for the season. According to Irfaan Gaffar, the Canucks have been interested in Simmonds for quite some time. LeBrun also added in his report that the Canucks were one of the teams interested in Simmonds last summer.
#Canucks have been interested in Simmonds for a while. Will be very interesting to see what happens over the next couple of weeks with Ferland leading up to the deadline.
— Irfaan Gaffar (@irfgaffar) February 6, 2020
Simmonds was a sought after UFA last summer after his bargain six-year deal with an $3,975,000 AAV that he originally signed with the Flyers in 2013 came to an end. The Canucks and Calgary Flames were reportedly two of the teams heavily interested in landing Simmonds. The “Wayne Train” reportedly wanted to stay in the Metropolitan Division and also rightfully wanted to cash in after being underpaid on his previous contract. He ended up signing a one-year deal worth $5M with the New Jersey Devils in the 2019 NHL offseason.
While Simmonds still has value to offer, it’s clear that his best days are behind him. The 31-year-old has only managed five goals and 19 points in 52 games since the trade to New Jersey. The Nashville Predators had a similar mindset as the Canucks last season when they acquired Simmonds at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline for their playoff run. Simmonds ended up disappointing down the stretch with just one goal and three points in 17 regular-season games. He was limited to just two playoffs games due to injury before going to free agency.
The Canucks are obviously hoping Ferland can get back to full health for the stretch run and the playoffs, but if that simply isn’t the case, don’t be surprised if they make a move for Simmonds.