The Flyers' win streak came to an end this past week.
Let's get into some observations:
• Would Philippe Myers be here right now if Ron Hextall was still in the general manager seat for the Flyers?
It's a fair question to ask.
Hextall wasn't exactly the type of GM to call up a 22-year-old prospect with no NHL experience during a postseason race that has just 27 games remaining. Hextall was well-known for his staunch approach with prospects and their development. Former head coach Dave Hakstol's decisions often jived with Hextall's patience.
Current general manager Chuck Fletcher changed the Flyers' course in a few ways with the promotion of Myers from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.
For one, Fletcher has no problems if the defenseman gets his number called, despite the magnitude of a playoff push and the team playing its best hockey.
"That's how you have to learn," Fletcher said. "He's earned the right. … I believe he can help us up here."
He also doesn't mind if Myers sits a few games and soaks everything in.
"If we can get him some experience, practice seems great, being around the team is great," Fletcher said. "If he can get some games, that'll only help him as he prepares for next year."
Hextall did recall then-21-year-old defenseman Travis Sanheim in March of last season, but that was under emergency conditions. Sanheim, who had already played earlier in the year, ended up being so good that he had to stay, helping the Flyers sneak into the postseason.
Fletcher was not brought in to practice patience. He's ready to see what Myers can do now.
• There's probably nobody out there envious of Fletcher's spot with Wayne Simmonds.
The decision gets tougher by the day.
Now wouldn't be an ideal time to move on from a player who is considered the heart and soul of the Flyers, beloved for truly embodying the city's spirit. The Flyers are the hottest team in hockey and showing life in the postseason hunt, exactly what upper management envisioned and desired when it summoned Fletcher.
What kind of message does it send to all parties — team, management, fans — if Simmonds is traded when there's actual hope?
Still, Fletcher understands the importance of not only this season, but also the next — a difficult and delicate balance to make, especially right now. Ironically, the Flyers going on a tear has made his job harder.
One thing is certain: Simmonds has been a true pro. Remember, he has seen a number of teammates rewarded with contract extensions.
As his situation has lingered, he hasn't changed.
That isn't lost on Fletcher ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
Wayne has played hard, he's been very good of late and I can't commend him enough on his professionalism, his attitude. You watch him in celebrations after we win a game, he’s pretty much the first guy out there to congratulate Carter [Hart] or Anthony [Stolarz], as the case may be. He's just a great teammate and has done a lot for this franchise.
• Goalies really can be the backbone of a team's confidence.
You have to marvel at how Hart, a 20-year-old kid, has been that for a team with a veteran core. It just shows you how vital the position is in this sport.
The Flyers are no longer fighting for confidence. Sean Couturier's quote on Saturday encapsulated Hart's impact.
"He makes us believe even if we're not playing our best."— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) February 9, 2019
- Sean Couturier on the impact of Carter Hart in net pic.twitter.com/tQRE6lkRQ2
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