Now, we’ve arrived to “oh right, that did happen” territory. Wayne Simmonds spent less than a full season with the New Jersey Devils, and it never really worked. The Devils signed Simmonds to a one-year deal to add a veteran presence to a growing team. He was on that disaster 2019-2020 season that led to the firing of Ray Shero and John Hynes.
Simmonds had 24 points in 61 games with the Devils. Not exactly lighting the world on fire. To be honest, we remember Simmonds more for his Instagram videos with Subban than we do for any on-ice contributions. He signed a one-year $5 million contract, and the Devils didn’t really get their money’s worth.
However, this was the start of the legend of Tom Fitzgerald. He traded Simmonds for a fifth-round pick. It was a pick that felt innocuous at the time, but then he used it to take Topias Vilen. The left-handed defenseman already has the tools to become an NHL defenseman.
Simmonds spent the fast few seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was an extra for most of that time. Now, he might be looking for work off the ice. Simmonds time with the Devils was brief, but if Vilen turns into anything significant, this might be another steal for the Tom Fitzgerald record books.