When Wayne Simmonds was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, he was excited about being a piece to their puzzle, a solution to their problem if you will. Simmonds wasn’t getting a ton of ice time in New Jersey, so Buffalo was a fresh start where he could come in on a young team and lead by example.
That was all until Buffalo fired 25 employees, changed their GM, stopped calling and moved on. Insert the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs are Simmonds ‘hometown’ team, as he’s from the area and currently living in Aurora, ON (25 minutes north of Toronto), so fittingly, he’s being rumored to land in Toronto. But, in this case, the chances are extremely likely because he’s exactly what the Leafs need….if he’s healthy.
— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) September 9, 2020
According to Simmonds he’s fully healed from 2 surgeries and is in great shape.
Simmonds spoke with the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun about his health, his future, and of course, the Leafs and had this to say to one of the best insiders in hockey:
All I can say to you is that I’m actually, finally 100 percent healthy from my surgeries two years ago. I’ve been training like an animal. Obviously I know I didn’t have the best of years last season. I’m looking to prove a lot of people wrong and show that I can still play at the level that people are accustomed to seeing me play at.That’s the goal here. I want to be a difference-maker, I want to be a piece to a puzzle that’s not yet complete but I can help push over the top. I’ve been walking around the neighbourhood way more frequently than I usually do because I’ve been here a lot longer than normal and all I keep hearing is, `When are you going to sign with the Leafs?… I know they’re in a bit of a salary cap situation and things of that nature, but you know I’m open to everything, Toronto’s got a great core of players and I think that’s definitely a team where I could go in and make an impact right away.
The deal is expected to be for one-year, at just over $1 million dollars. As Simmonds mentioned, he’s going to play out of his contract. Simmonds estimated career earnings is north of $33 million. Money won’t be a deciding factor, Simmonds just wants to win.