The Leafs presently sit at 50 player contracts and are now starring down a new issue of having a lack of healthy defensemen. It should probably come as no surprise, no matter how much we hate to see it, that Wayne Simmonds has been placed on waivers, possibly in hope of opening up a contract space where the Leafs can add someone.
Simmonds has only found his way into the Leafs lineup four times this season, somewhat due to the success of the Aston-Reese, Kampf, and Malgin line and the emergence of Pontus Holmberg as an everyday bottom six option. With the Leafs struggling to get Nick Robertson into the lineup, and having a number of intriguing Marlies options waiting to be called up, putting Simmonds out to the rest of the league seems like a necessary step.
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The question is whether or not there is a fit for Simmonds out there and the one team I’d argue could be interested is the Edmonton Oilers.
Yes, I know, hahaha, the Oilers love them Leafs. Simmonds would join Barrie, Ceci, McKegg, Campbell, Hyman, Seth Griffith, and Calvin Pickard as former Leafs in their system. Their commitment to hand-me-downs is inspiring.
No, the reason why I think Simmonds could be Alberta bound is that a good chunk of the narrative around the Oilers lately has been the lack of protection for Connor McDavid in Zack Kassian’s absence. They did have Evander Kane, and still have Darnell Nurse, but in the case of Darnell Nurse there is also the issue of not wanting to lose your top defenseman for a five minute stretch at important parts of the game. Perhaps a fourth line pugilist better meets their needs.
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The Oilers find themselves in a situation where they have some cap relief and at least a perceived need. It will be interesting to see if Wayne Simmonds is still a Leaf at 2pm ET tomorrow.