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Leafs scrap trade deadline plans to go after coveted UFA Simmonds?!

The trade deadline is getting closer, chatter is picking up and Toronto might shock everyone!

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Seven weeks away… The trade deadline is getting closer and fans are wondering which teams will be buyers and sellers, and which players will be on the move. One pending unrestricted free agent in particular is getting a closer look from rivals teams as Philadelphia Flyers rugged forward Wayne Simmonds could end up elsewhere by the end of February. 

On Tuesday night, Darren Dreger revealed that the Flyers and new GM Chuck Fletcher might be shopping Simmonds, who would be the club’s best trade bait. 

“The Flyers haven’t made a decision yet on the direction they want to go with Simmonds. They know that he’s a big part of the culture in Philadelphia and has been for a long time, but he’s also a highly valued commodity,” explained Dreger on TSN’s Insider Trading. 
“If you look at some of the contending teams - the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames from a Canadian perspective - why wouldn’t they have interest in Simmonds? He could help the power play and he’s a grit guy.

Then you throw in the other element, I don’t think Simmonds wants to wait around for too long to determine his direction moving forward. I think we’ll be talking a lot more about Simmonds in the days and weeks ahead.”

There has been a buzz that the Maple Leafs could indeed be interested in renting Simmonds for the playoff run. 

“I look at Toronto. Why wouldn’t Toronto want to add some grit,” asked Dreger earlier that same night on TSN

“Sure, the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t want to go down that rental path, but we are talking about a unique skills set here in Wayne Simmonds, who can do a little bit of everything.” 

Leafs GM Kyle Dubas might change his mind about his trade deadline approach: a few weeks ago, the Leafs general manager had revealed that he would not go after rentals at the deadline, however, this year might be the one for Toronto, and the addition of Simmonds could be very beneficial in the long run for the Maple Leafs, who will try everything they can to move past the first round this spring.  Dreger also believes the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets could be in the mix. 

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet also noted on Tuesday that the Leafs might look at Dougie Hamilton of the Carolina Hurricanes. While on the air of Toronto’s Sportsnet 590, the NHL insider mentioned that Hamilton could become available and that Toronto could investigate on the talented blue liner. 

“To be honest guys, I wouldn’t be surprised - and I don’t have any evidence that they’ve talked about it, and I would tend to think right now that they haven’t - but it wouldn’t surprise me if a team like Toronto looked into something like that.”

It seems like a lot could be taking place in Toronto ahead of the trade deadline…