In a way, things have picked up a little bit for the Flyers.
They made a deal and won a game last week, while the Feb. 25 trade deadline gets closer with each day.
So let's get into some observations:
• Obviously, the Jordan Weal trade was not an earth-shattering move, but it was telling. Chuck Fletcher had not made a trade as Flyers general manager and there was no sign of what his deadline motives would be with this underachieving team.
This gives us some idea. If the Flyers were contending at all, they wouldn't have shipped Weal away in January for just a sixth-round draft pick and an ECHL player. There would have been no real reason to for such an unappetizing return.
But it's something for a player that frankly had no more value because the season no longer does. Now it's clearer that Fletcher will start selling some parts, logical moves before the offseason.
Wayne Simmonds is the no-duh big decision (see story). However, keep an eye on Michael Raffl, a role forward set to become an unrestricted free agent like Weal.
Another small, under-the-radar deal would involve defenseman Christian Folin, a pending UFA as well. Receiving anything for Folin makes sense, as it would also open a roster spot for possible call-up Philippe Myers, who could see audition time in the second half.
• The Flyers brought the whole crew to Newark, New Jersey, for Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Devils.
It's not often you see these many members of the front office at a road game. The NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast showed president Paul Holmgren, general manager Fletcher, senior vice president Bob Clarke, senior advisor Dean Lombardi and assistant general managers Brent Flahr and Barry Hanrahan all together at the Prudential Center (see story).
Don't make too much of it. The New Jersey trip is one of the easier ones and very well could have been planned ahead of time for Clarke and others. However, Fletcher is a listener and values input. You can bet things are being discussed.
After all, these are critical months for the Flyers and their direction.
• Want some outside perspective on the Flyers?
First-year Stars head coach Jim Montgomery provided an interesting and honest comment following his club's 2-1 loss Thursday to the Flyers.
The Flyers typically at home come out strong and it's a team that can score goals, they feel good about themselves and if they don't score goals, they tend to not stick with the process sometimes.
Montgomery was talking about the importance of the game's first 10 minutes, which assuredly was highlighted on the Stars' scout — how vitally a start can dictate the Flyers.
If anything, Montgomery, who played 13 career games for the Flyers and 159 for the Phantoms, explained what many are seeing. The Flyers are who they are right now. They've battled confidence issues, especially at home, where they sport an 8-10-3 record.
• On Saturday, Carter Hart allowed just his third first-period goal through nine starts. He has kept the Flyers in games. He has a 2.28 goals-against average and .932 save percentage over his past four starts.
He has been the team's best goalie this season among the seven to play.
Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are both on injured reserve. When they are deemed healthy, the Flyers will have a decision to make on Hart.
Could you justify sending him back to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley? Right now, you can't (see story).
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