Bunting Calls It: Simmonds a Maple Leafs Difference Maker (Video)

 In an interview yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Michael Bunting noted how happy he was to have Wayne Simmonds back in the team’s line-up. Bunting was especially excited about the boost of energy he believed Simmonds would bring to the team.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Wayne Simmonds Becoming Expendable

During the interview, Bunting noted that Simmonds was a big part of this team. He’s appreciated by his teammates and is a “great guy in the room.” As a result, Bunting noted that he and his teammates were all really happy that Simmonds was back in the lineup.

Bunting Noted that Simmonds Is Impactful

Bunting called it. Prior to the Winnipeg Jets game that the Maple Leafs won 4-1, Bunting noted that Simmonds has been obviously impactful for the team when he’s been in the lineup. What also makes Simmonds valuable is that “the other team knows he’s in the lineup.” 

It was as if the whole team got the memo. Stick up for your teammates.

It was obvious that Bunting respects his veteran teammate because he works hard and “brings it every day.” He also appreciates the intensity that Simmonds brings to the team. As a result, Bunting shared that “we’re all happy he’s back with us.”

Bunting Was Right About Simmonds’ Impact

Obviously, as the game played out, Simmonds proved he still has value to his team. The “Ultimate Warrior,” as Auston Matthews calls him, has obviously wanted to play this season. Although he worked really hard during the training camp, Simmonds didn’t make the cut for the team’s roster. 

Related: Is It Time for Maple Leafs’ Wayne Simmonds to Hang Up His Skates?

Simmonds then cleared waivers, which – even if you wanted to stay in Toronto – had to be tough. No other team wanted him. Third, Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas sent a note around the NHL that Simmonds would be available in a trade. No team responded.

Wayne Simmonds Toronto Maple Leafs
Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Simmonds just stayed with the team and worked hard to stay in game shape just in case he got a chance to play. He got that chance last night. He played well. 

Last Night Against the Winnipeg Jets, Simmonds Made a Big Difference

Simmonds was a difference-maker last night. Although it isn’t clear what the future holds for the veteran one-time NHL-best power forward, for at least one night in Winnipeg, Simmonds helped skate his team to an important win.

Related: Maple Leafs Need Wayne Simmonds Back in the Lineup

As Bunting’s crystal ball seemed to suggest, Simmonds just was taking care of business for his team. Obviously, the Maple Leafs were happy to have Simmonds back and suited up in the Blue and White.

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