Player evaluation: Simmonds
This season: 78 games, 16 goals, 24 assists, 116 penalty minutes, 14:29 average ice time.
The good: One year after he surprisingly made the team out of training camp, Simmonds took another step forward in his sophomore season. A fearless and tireless worker in the defensive end, Simmonds might also have reached the 20-goal plateau had his production not slowed in March and April. Simmonds is an effective irritant to opponents and is not afraid to drop the gloves.
The bad: The only real knock on SImmonds’ play was a stretch after the Olympics, when he had only one point in eight games. Game-to-game consistency is still an issue with Simmonds at times, but he’s still very young and, during the series against Vancouver, he seemed to be back on top of his game. Can he elevate his game even more and be a 20-to-25-goal scorer?
Going forward: For years, the Kings lacked a true “shut-down” line. With Simmonds and Michal Handzus, they automatically have two-thirds of a very strong one, and Simmonds has showed that, if need be, he can step into a first-line role and have success. Simmonds is a versatile and valuable player, and if he can maintain consistency and raise his offensive level one more step, he will be a real gem.