Flyers GM Ron Hextall Backs Team as Flyers Stay Quiet at Deadline
The Flyers made one move earlier on deadline day, adding defenseman Johnny Oduya through waivers. Other than that, the Flyers remained quiet at the deadline.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall met with the media following the deadline and focused on the team's current success while noting that prices were just too high to warrant a deal.
"You've got a chemistry in your room, so to make a deal, it's got to be the right player. It's got to be the right price. It's got to be a clear upgrade, otherwise, you're affecting the chemistry in your room. We had some conversations and nothing made sense for us.
"This is the deadline. This is a dangerous time. It's an emotional time for all of us and you've got to really think things through clearly because it's an easy time to jump because someone else did something. That's not the way we operate. We're looking after our hockey club. If we can do something to get better, we're going to get better, but we're not going to make emotional decisions. We're going to make well thought out decisions."
The Flyers did make paper moves, sending both Oskar Lindblom and Alex Lyon to the Phantoms to make them eligible for the AHL Playoffs, but both will be suiting up for the Flyers. Lindblom's recall counts as one of the four the Flyers have for the remainder of the season, leaving them with three available call-ups.
The Flyers also recalled forward Matt Read from the Phantoms -- doing so prior to the deadline so it doesn't count toward the four -- to add some depth at forward.
Hextall said that with the depth they have in the minors as well as injured players like Wayne Simmonds and goalie Brian Elliott potentially due back before the end of the season, they felt they were in good shape heading into the playoffs.
Of course, the high price tags on rental players didn't stop other teams from being active. The Tampa Bay Lightning made a blockbuster deal to acquire defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller from the Rangers. The Devils added Patrick Maroon on deadline day after adding Michael Grabner earlier in the week. The Penguins made their move earlier in the week, adding Derick Brassard. The Bruins landed Rick Nash from the Rangers over the weekend. Toronto acquired Tomas Plekanec from the Canadiens. Columbus added a number of pieces, including forward Thomas Vanek and defenseman Ian Cole.
The Flyers and Washington Capitals were the only two teams in the Eastern Conference playoff picture to not make any deadline additions.
Hextall focused on the big picture when going into his reasoning for staying put.
"Our objective is to win the Stanley Cup, and we’re not going to do something now that give us maybe a two percent better shot this year, but would hurt us down the road," Hextall said. "We have a lot of good young players here and get asked about them fairly often."
The Flyers have 20 games remaining on the season, including Monday night's game against Montreal, and have carved out a sizable margin between where they are and the first team out of the playoffs in the East. It would take a significant collapse for the Flyers to miss the playoffs.
Everything else is a bonus, with the Flyers expectations set on first making the playoffs and then focusing on making a run. Hextall's assessment was that any deal on deadline day would have only provided a small increase in their chances of achieving the ultimate goal and winning the Stanley Cup. With so many pieces of the future still on the way, there was no reason to risk it.
So the Flyers press on with the addition of a new veteran blue liner and the team that got them to where they are so far. There's a chance that the current group that has earned the GM's trust might just be leading their division by the end of the night.