Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!
A month and a day before it actually happened, power forward Wayne Simmonds said that he was open to signing a contract to play for his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Sept. 8, TLN writer Scott Maxwell detailing what was only a potential deal at the time was the 25th most read article on TheLeafsNation in 2020.
Simmonds, in a sense, was a bit of a natural fit on the Leafs. He’s a bigger body and he has brought toughness to his game in the past — both are things Toronto was missing from their lineup. While they tried to address it with bringing Kyle Clifford to the club in a pre-deadline trade, but he left in free agency.
Maxwell noted in his piece that Simmonds appeared to be ready to sign a below-market value deal, and that’s what ended up happening as he inked a one-year, $1.5-million deal.
Here’s what Maxwell wrote about the potential for the deal to happen at the time:
The Wayne Simmonds that Leafs fans have been dreaming of having for years is not the Wayne Simmonds currently playing in the NHL, and while it wouldn’t be the worst if he was on a league minimum ranged contract for a year like Jason Spezza, I think there are better options. While he does bring intangibles to the table, I think the Tampa Bay Lightning are proof that you can find players like that that are still positive contributors for them (ie. Blake Coleman, Patrick Maroon, Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde), something that Wayne Simmonds probably wouldn’t be at this point in his career.