MONTREAL — Ron Hextall was trying to make a move. But only the right move at the right cost.
“On defense, we were a little bit concerned about our depth,” Hextall said Monday from the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, New Jersey. “In saying that, when you look at our D, Travis (Sanheim) was up for a good part of the year. He’s played extremely well in Lehigh Valley, so we have Travis and more guys down there, and we felt more comfortable once we got Johnny (Oduya).”
Not looking to depart with prospects, players off the current roster or too many draft picks, Hextall ultimately elected to stand pat while other teams in the Metropolitan Division were active on the NHL’s trade deadline day.
“Our objective is to win the Stanley Cup,” Hextall said. “We weren't going to do something that maybe would give us a two percent better chance this year, but would hurt us down the road. We have a lot of good young players here, and get asked about them a lot."
Hextall was also cognizant of the current state of the Flyers and a team that’s been on a torrid pace with a 25-8-3 record since snapping a 10-game winless streak on Dec. 4. Hextall wasn’t quite sure how an outsider might fit in on a team that has displayed a great deal of character and resiliency during a tough stretch of the season.
“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,” Hextall said. “It’s got to be a good upgrade. Otherwise, you’re affecting the chemistry in the room. For a number of reasons, we had some conversations but nothing made sense for us.”
Earlier in the day, Hextall added 36-year-old Oduya (see story), who the Ottawa Senators placed on waivers Monday afternoon, but also lost Mark Alt, who was subsequently placed on waivers and claimed by the Colorado Avalanche (see story). Oduya brings 106 games of Stanley Cup playoff experience while winning two championships with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015.
“We liked Johnny. We liked the playoff experience,” Hextall said. “I felt like he really added to our depth on defense, so we’re excited about that acquisition.”
This season, the left-handed Oduya scored four goals with four assists in 51 games with the Senators, but more impressively, he owned a plus-2 rating on a team that has been outscored by 50 goals so far this season.
The Flyers had submitted their claim for Oduya before Alt had been claimed by the Avalanche, so the move wasn’t reactive to losing Alt.
“Rules are in place for a reason, so good for Mark," Hextall said. "We’re happy for him."