Maple Leafs reportedly working on extension with Wayne Simmonds

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WINNIPEG, MB - APRIL 24: Wayne Simmonds #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets set during a second period face-off against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on April 24, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
It appears Wayne Simmonds will be back in the blue and white next season. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs want to keep next year’s roster local.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Leafs are working on a contract extension for veteran winger Wayne Simmonds.

Signed to a one-year, $1.5-million contract last summer, the Scarborough, Ont., native returned home and was welcomed with open arms by fans. The 32-year-old, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, scored seven goals and nine points through an injury-riddled season that saw him play just 38 games. He appeared in all seven games in the first round against the Stanley Cup finalist Montreal Canadiens, earning just one assist while skating on the fourth line.

After re-signing Jason Spezza to a third consecutive one-year deal, it appears that Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is gearing up for another kick at the proverbial can with a similar roster makeup. While Simmonds might not be the same scorer he once was in Philadelphia, he is highly regarded by his teammates and has earned a reputation as a leader, making him a valued commodity around the league and especially on a Leafs team that lacks the grit Simmonds provides.

If this deal comes to pass, it would make sense for Toronto to look for another one-year deal with a cap hit under $1.075 million, the max number the Leafs would be allowed to bury in the AHL without it counting against the cap. Aside from Simmonds, the Leafs have nine other pending unrestricted free agents on the roster, including veteran forward Joe Thornton, deadline pickup Nick Foligno, and stable defender Zach Bogosian.

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