Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Wayne Simmonds To One-Year Deal

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 27: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Wayne Simmonds #17 of the New Jersey Devils battle for the puck during the second period at the Prudential Center on December 27, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 27: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Wayne Simmonds #17 of the New Jersey Devils battle for the puck during the second period at the Prudential Center on December 27, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Wayne Simmonds to a one-year contract today.

Only a few minutes into Free Agency, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a splash signing Wayne Simmonds to a one-year $1.5M contract.

Soon to be on his fifth team in three years, it was only a few years ago that Simmonds had back-to-back 30 goal campaigns. The Leafs don’t need Simmonds to score that many goals anymore, but instead, they need him to be a veteran leader in the room who can play with an edge.

The Scarborough, ON native is 32-years-old, and his game has been in decline now for several seasons. If, however,  the Jason Spezza signing taught us anything, it’s that transitioning to easier minutes on a lower line can extend a player’s career and give them a  bounce-back year. That’s exactly what the Leafs are hoping with the Simmonds signing.

For $1.5M, there will be a few people who think that’s too rich. However, I personally love this deal and think Simmonds is a perfect player for Toronto. Sure, the Leafs could put a player like Adam Brooks or Kenny Agostino in the line-up for half that price instead and probably be OK, but the experience that Simmonds brings is perfect.

The Leafs know the type of player they’re getting. They’re getting a guy who is tough, can fight, can hit and if needed, move around the lineup and give the team different looks. In my opinion, he has now essentially made Andreas Johnsson a moveable asset and I would be shocked if Johnsson is on the Leafs next season now.

Leafs Depth Chart After Signing Wayne Simmonds

With Simmonds signed, that adds a huge element to the Leafs line-up and makes one or two forwards expendable. This is how the Leafs forwards could look come opening night of the 2020-21 season:

  • Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
  • Ilya Mikheyev – John Tavares – William Nylander
  • Alexander Barabanov – Alex Kerfoot – Nick Robertson
  • Jason Spezza – Pierre Engvall – Wayne Simmonds

Adding Simmonds as a replacement for Clifford is at worst a lateral move.  Even if Clifford is a better player at this point, the fourth line wingers aren’t making a huge difference for your team.  At the very least, the Leafs maintain their second round draft pick for next year this way.

Simmonds also adds another element because if any of those top-nine wingers get injured, Simmonds can jump in and fill their role without worrying.

Leafs Have Massive Advantage in Free Agency. dark. Next

I’m excited to see Simmonds in a Leafs jersey and cannot wait for the 2020-21 season to begin.