PHILADELPHIA – One could make the contention Wayne Simmonds hasn’t been healthy since the 2016-17 season.
All last season, Simmonds was plagued by a series of injuries, culminating in an operation on his pelvis.
After a summer of rehabilitation and a pass from the first seven games of the preseason, Simmonds believes he will be at full strength for Thursday’s season opener in Vegas.
Simmonds hopes to get into the Flyers’ final preseason game at Boston on Saturday afternoon.
“Everything is going as planned,’’ Simmonds said. “I’ve had no setbacks. It’s been a smooth transition.’’
Despite missing seven games, Simmonds finished with 24 goals last season. He played through a bevy of problems, including losing a number of teeth, requiring extensive dental surgery.
In training camp, he’s testing everything to make sure there are no restrictions.
“I’ve taken part in all the battle drills,’’ he said. “Early in camp, I took it a little slow but now it’s been ramped up. . .I’ve been participating in everything.’’
As of Wednesday, he had still not been cleared for contact but that day is coming.
What’s the plan for Boston?
“You just want to get your timing back,’’ said Simmonds, who turned 30 last month. “I would rather error on the side of caution then jump into a game too early.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol looks forward to having a healthy Simmonds back in the lineup, especially on the power play, where the right wing provides valuable traffic in front of opposing goalies.
“The biggest element is being healthy for the regular season,’’ Hakstol said. “First and foremost is being healthy on day number one. It would healthy to get an exhibition game under his belt.
“We want him to feel his best and see if we can get him into a (preseason) game and develop some chemistry with some potential linemates.’’
Friedman hangs around
The roster is down to 31 players and rookie defenseman Mark Friedman is still here, perhaps a surprise to some.
“He’s played well enough to be here,’’ Hakstol said. “From his perspective, he’s done all the things we’ve asked. He’s gotten a little bit better throughout camp. From there, maybe a little of that comfort level grows. Bottom line is, he deserves to be one of the final eight (defensemen) here.’’