Geek of the Week: The Decline of Wayne Simmonds

by Scott Maran on February 25, 2018

Are Wayne Simmonds' fantasy totals beginning to decline?

For years Wayne Simmonds has always been known as one of the best fantasy hockey players to own. While he doesn’t put up the points that Sidney Crosby or Nikita Kucherov do, his ability to contribute in almost every category gave him near elite value. In leagues that count more than just points, Simmonds was one of the few players who could do it all. He could score, hit, get penalty minutes and more, being one of the few true all-around forwards. However, looking at his stats this year, are we witnessing the beginning of the decline of Wayne Simmonds?

Drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Kings, Wayne Simmonds emerged as a top fantasy asset when he was traded to the Flyers all the way back in 2011. Even though he had only tallied 93 points in his first three seasons (all with the Kings), he managed to score 28 goals and 21 assists in his first campaign with the Flyers. Leaned more heavily on with an increased role in Philly, Simmonds blossomed into a 50-60 point scorer, going on to score at a 50+ point pace for the next five seasons.

There are plenty of 50-60 point scorers in the NHL though. What made Simmonds unique was his combination of points and peripherals, as he was also one of the toughest players in the NHL. Averaging over 100 penalty minutes and 150 hits a season, Simmonds helped fantasy owners in almost every possible category. From 2011 to 2017, Simmonds has recorded the eighth-most penalty minutes and the 43rd most hits, all while scoring the 38th most points in the entire NHL.

However, this season Simmonds has struggled a bit, on pace for a down year in many categories. Using our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, we can see the fantasy value that Simmonds has provided this year (using an average 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots on net, power-play points, and hits).
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Logan Couture

107

12

58

25

22

157

17

29

Jake Gardiner

108

11

63

4

35

98

10

32

Wayne Simmonds

109

11

59

20

17

134

16

97

Mitch Marner

110

11

63

15

34

148

17

25

Brandon Montour

111

10

61

6

17

129

8

75


Despite being drafted on average 58th overall in Fantrax leagues, Simmonds has only provided the 109th most fantasy value. Compare that to last year, where he was ranked as the 26th most valuable player by Fantasy Hockey Geek.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Jeff Carter

25

49

82

32

34

250

22

86

Wayne Simmonds

26

49

82

31

23

224

25

162

Roman Josi

27

47

72

12

37

217

18

54


So what changed? For starters, Simmonds has seen a slight decline in points. On pace for only 51 points by the end of the season, that will be Simmonds lowest points-per-game rate since his first season in Philly in 2012. They’re not terrible totals but for context, that doesn’t even place Simmonds inside the top 100 in points. His 37 points are only tied for the 117th most in the league, right with Adam Henrique and Mathieu Perreault. His goal totals are still fine (55th overall) but Simmonds is on pace to fail to hit 30 goals for the first time in two years. This can partially be explained by his declining shot totals, as he’s only on pace for 186 shots. His current shots on goal totals are only good for the 126th most in the NHL and hurt his value in leagues that count the category (which are most).

But more importantly, Simmonds’ peripherals aren’t nearly as strong as they’ve been in years past. In the previous four seasons, Simmonds broke 100 penalty minutes three times, averaging 110 penalty minutes per year. But with only 55 in 59 games, Simmonds is only on track for 76, his second lowest total in the last seven years. He’s gone from 147 penalty minutes two years ago to 122 and now on pace for 76. It’s still the 36th most in the NHL but it’s not nearly what we’ve come to expect from him.

What’s equally concerning is his hit totals, which have also been steadily declining over the past three years. Peaking with 192 hits in the 2015-16 season, Simmonds is on pace for 135 by the end of the year. His 97 hits are only tied for the 118th most in the NHL, less than players like Victor Hedman and Vincent Trocheck who score a lot more points than him too. What used to be his strengths are not nearly as elite as they used to be.

Overall, almost every aspect of Simmonds play has seen a decline this year, which is very discouraging to see from a 29-year-old forward who plays a rough style. He still holds value, but he probably won’t be able to carry your team like he used to be able to in the past, so plan accordingly and prepare for a potential further decline from him in the future.

 

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