Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell
There's a perception the 2018-19 season was simply an injury-plagued down year for Wayne Simmonds and that a full summer to recover, and a change of scenery, will help him return to old form.
That perception is misguided. While it's possible Simmonds enjoys more success than a season ago playing alongside Jack Hughes – that will likely be a common theme throughout his career – 2018-19 was *not* a down year, or a one-off, for Simmonds. It was simply another step downwards in a very evident decline that's been on-going for a while.
Take Simmonds' 5v5 production, for example. He was at the peak of his powers and enjoyed his best overall season in 2015-16, averaging 1.92 points per 60 while piling up shots and chances. Simmonds followed up that great year with the three lowest outputs since his rookie campaign in 2008-09.
Simmonds' shot and chance generation numbers suggest the dip in efficiency is no fluke. Be it attempts, shots on goal, chances, or high-danger looks around the net, Simmonds is nowhere close to what he was even a few years ago.
You can still be a useful player and drive positive results even if the individual production isn't there. Unfortunately, that's not the case with Simmonds.
The goal in hockey, obviously, is to out-score your opponent. Generally you need to help your team control more than 50% of the shots and chances to do that.
Once again, Simmonds hasn't really shown that ability since his fantastic 27-year-old season with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Could he rebound and put together a solid season with Jack Hughes and company? Sure, crazier things have happened.
But it's probably not a coincidence a power forward saw his numbers decline significantly across the board as he exited his 20s and entered his 30s. Let's not pretend it is one.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com
Devils sign Connor Carrick to two-year extension
Which Metro team's had the worst off-season?
Which Metro team's had the best off-season?
Devils sign Jack Hughes to ELC
Let's talk about Taylor Hall
The Devils should extend Nico Hischier sooner than later
On the signing of Wayne Simmonds
Damon Severson isn't going anywhere
Reviewing the Devils' 2019 draft class