2019 NHL free agency: Did Devils overpay Wayne Simmonds with 1-year, $5 million contract?

So it's some prove-it time for Simmonds, who turns 31 years old in August.

"At the end of the day this is a business, right?" Simmonds said, via Amanda Stein of NewJerseyDevils.com. "I got traded last year at the deadline, so I feel a little bit removed from Philly. But you're right, I spent a lot of time there. I enjoyed my time there, but it's time to move on and time to get going. I thought Jersey was the perfect place for me."

Simmonds' base salary last season was $5 million, but his six-year, $23.8 million contract had an average annual value of $3.975 million. It became a bargain once Simmonds turned into a two-time 30-goal scorer. Since 2013-14, Simmonds owns the NHL's second-most power-play goals (74), behind only Alex Ovechkin (120).

Simmonds, though, has been a much different player over the past two seasons. A max-heart kind of guy, Simmonds has put his body through the wringer. In 2017-18, he endured a tear in his pelvic area, fractured ankle, pulled groin, busted mouth (twice) and a torn ligament in his thumb, but missed only seven games.

Last season, during the playoffs with the Predators, his year ended with taking a shot to the knee. Between time with the Flyers and Predators, Simmonds scored his fewest goals (17) and points (30) in a full season since 2010-11, when he was with the Kings.

Did the Devils overpay Simmonds?

Well, New Jersey had a ton of cap space and has made it clear it doesn't mind spending. The Devils traded for 30-year-old defenseman P.K. Subban, who has a $9 million cap hit for the next three seasons. 

New Jersey wants to be relevant again. Simmonds is a name, he can have an endless impact on a locker room and he can play up and down the lineup with his style as a power forward. The Devils have young talent and Simmonds can help.

Is $5 million a lot? Sure, but look at some of the contracts given out Monday. $5 million for one season of Simmonds isn't all that bad of a deal. Guys like Tyler Myers and Mats Zuccarello are getting $6 million a season for five years. New Jersey won't be kicking itself over paying Simmonds for one.

However, seeing him in Devils red will be odd.

Simmonds will return to Philadelphia on Oct. 9. He will play the Flyers four times in 2019-20.

And each time, it will be super weird watching him in that Devils jersey. 

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