The Buffalo Sabres have acquired forward Wayne Simmonds from the New Jersey Devils for a conditional 2021 5th round draft pick. If the Sabres make the playoffs and Simmonds plays in 10 games, the pick is upgraded to a 4th rounder.
The Sabres don\’t seem to be in the playoff hunt. But, they are only six points out of the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, needing to pass the Panthers and Maple Leafs. Also, the Panthers appear to be sellers after trading away Vincent Trocheck and potentially Mike Hoffman. The Leafs are falling after losing to the Hurricanes while their goalie for most of the game was 42-year-old Zamboni driver Dave Ayers. The Sabres could be seeing the Leafs loss and the Trocheck trade as a chance to get back in the race. Simmonds is a veteran on an expiring contract, and even if the Sabres miss the playoffs, they only trade a fifth round pick. Plus, the reigning Mark Messier award winner will be a big presence in the locker room. As a player, Simmonds\’ 30 goal days seem to be behind him. He was terrible in Nashville after being traded at last year\’s trade deadline. He signed with the Devils in the offseason and has struggled, failing to score 10 goals so far. However, the trade should be a spark for the team as the front office is showing them that they trust them to make the playoffs this year. The pressure could be on for GM Jason Botterill as well. Getting a 5th for Simmonds might have seemed low for New Jersey when they signed him, but he has had a bad year and is aging so the price is warranted.
Simmonds, 31, has scored eight goals with 16 assists for 24 points in 61 games for the Devils this year. In his NHL career for the Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators Simmonds has scored 251 goals with 247 assists for 498 points in 902 games.