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Wayne Simmonds is best described as a younger, more skilled version of Scott Hartnell; a power forward in the mold of the Bruins' Milan Lucic, only with more of an edge.
Simmonds' combination of size (6'2", 195 pounds), skill (93 points in his first three seasons) and attitude (264 PIM) is rare among younger players in today's NHL. His rough-and-tumble style, fiercely competitive spirit and team-first attitude should make him a fan favorite in Philadelphia.
While he possesses the raw talent to eventually play a top six role on most NHL teams, Simmonds is best suited to a third line role at present.
He is already a very solid defensive forward who works exceptionally hard along the boards and rarely loses a one-on-one battle for the puck. He has the talent to be a legitimate offensive threat and seems poised for a breakout season. In fact, the comparison between Simmonds and Lucic through their first three seasons is startling:
Lucic: 34G, 55A, 89P, +8, 3 PPG, 9 GWG
Simmonds: 39G, 54A, 93P, +12, 3 PPG, 7 GWG
The following season, Lucic had a breakout year, posting 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points en route to the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup.
Simmonds has a very favorable situation in Phildelphia, as he will have the opportunity to learn from seasoned power forwards Scott Hartnell, James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr.
If his development continues to follow the projected path, Simmonds could have a fantastic season.
2011 Stats: 80 GP, 14G, 16A, 30P, plus-2
2012 Stats: 80 GP, 21G, 26A, 47P, plus-9