It was Tuesday night that a rumour first surfaced, which involved a deal that sends Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds to Montreal, with the return unspecified. The reason given for the supposed deal not being announced yet was the NHL's holiday roster freeze, meaning that said deal would be announced soon thereafter.
Several outlets ran with the story, and speculation was rampant on Wednesday as to what, or who, would be heading the other way. Here is the tweet in question that started all of this.
Travis Hughes over at Broad Street Hockey already wrote about this rumour, and it is his contention that the rumour is probably baseless. Allow me to double down on that, as I am in full agreement with that assessment.
Bouchard, the man behind the above tweet, apparently heard about the deal through a scout in Calgary's pressbox. For me this is clue number one, as Marc Bergevin's camp rarely leaks deals, so it seems hard to believe that he'd have a deal in place that scouts would be openly talking about as far away as Calgary.
Furthermore, any deal involving Simmonds doesn't seem to make much sense for either side at this point in the season. The Flyers currently sit six points behind the Canadiens in the standings, with two games in hand. Why would they be in a rush to send a player like Simmonds to help the Habs? What do they get out of that?
One of the rumoured return packages involved Nathan Beaulieu, and one of Nikita Scherbak or Sven Andrighetto. Beaulieu has been playing very well for the Habs of late, and it seems highly unlikely that they're looking to move him. Philly has players like Samuel Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Travis Sanheim on the cusp of becoming regular NHLers. They're not desperate to make a move for a young defenseman at all.
Another suggestion was that the trade might be Simmonds straight-up for Alex Galchenyuk. That deal could make some sense, but why would Marc Bergevin want to entertain something like that? I'll let Brian Wilde tell you why that probably won't be happening.
@BWildeCTV There are a lot of people with the rumour of Galchenyuk for Simmonds. Apparently scout talk in Calgary too on the catwalk.— BrianWilde (@BWildeCTV) December 23, 2015
The only thing that makes sense about this rumour is that Wayne Simmonds is a fit on the Habs. There is an overwhelmingly good chance that this is nothing more than a "spaghetti western" rumour, and the reason it is as hot as it is lies in the Canadiens' current slump.
Maybe, and I mean mayyybe, if we were at the deadline, and the Flyers were basically out of playoff contention, they'd be happy to stock up with a draft pick and a prospect for Simmonds. That simply isn't the case, so they're going to want a decent return.
I'm not buying the rumour at all. As much as I would love to see Wayne Simmonds in a Habs uniform, it just doesn't make sense at this time. It doesn't make sense for the Habs, and it doesn't make sense for the Flyers either. I would be genuinely surprised if a deal is announced after the roster freeze is over. As is usually the case with rumours that involve Marc Bergevin, this one seems more like a pipe dream than a real possibility.