Chuck Fletcher has given Scott Gordon a good problem.
The Flyers are 9-0-1 over their last 10 games. They've been hockey's best team over that span, allowing just 21 goals.
For some context on the improvement, the Flyers were yielding 3.55 goals per game before this stretch — third most in the league — and during the four-game losing streak that cost Dave Hakstol his job in mid-December, they surrendered 22 goals.
Carter Hart's presence has done wonders, infusing confidence into the blue line — and just about everyone on the roster, for that matter.
But the Flyers' defensemen have taken significant strides, which only grew Saturday in a 6-2 win over the Ducks (see observations).
Robert Hagg had an assist and was a plus-3. Ivan Provorov tallied an assist, ate up 24 more minutes and finished as a plus-2. Travis Sanheim also delivered an assist and a plus-2 mark. Radko Gudas was a plus-2, as well, while Andrew MacDonald made a terrific pass to set up a goal and Shayne Gostisbehere played 20:34 and has been a plus-7 over his last 10 games.
"I think our defense has played very well for a while now," Fletcher said before Saturday's game. "I've been very impressed with the young guys, how they’ve responded. Provorov has been playing very well of late. Gudas has been tremendous all season. Andrew MacDonald has played very well for, really, since I've been here, but certainly the last month. We can go through all of them — Sanheim has grown by leaps and bounds. It's a good group and they're playing well."
And here comes Philippe Myers, the 22-year-old who was ranked as a top-50 prospect by the NHL Network entering the season and earned his way to the Flyers.
His call-up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley came intertwined with the general manager's trade Saturday (see story). In the deal, Fletcher shipped away seventh defenseman Christian Folin, so the Flyers "need bodies," as Fletcher put it.
But one of the chief motives behind the move was to clear way for Myers, who has a chance to be an integral part of the 2019-20 team, a big season for Fletcher with the Flyers seeking immediate progress.
"Everything we do is about building not only for now, but for next year, too," Fletcher said. "To be better next year, we have to be better this year.
"There's a lot of hockey down the stretch. So, to have some fresh, young legs up here will be great. We will see how the coaches integrate them into the lineup. Phil Myers can help this team win right now, too."
Myers might not play right away, but he isn't here to sit, either. Gordon is now tasked with getting the 6-foot-5, 209-pounder into the lineup and managing his minutes and situations.
There's no clear path for inserting Myers. The Flyers play 11 games in 21 days, with three back-to-back sets, so Gordon could mix Myers in throughout that stretch. Gordon was unsure if Myers would play in Monday's homestand finale against the Penguins or on the road Tuesday against the Wild.
"With the trade here, we wanted to have a seventh defenseman to go on the trip," the Flyers' interim head coach said after Saturday's win. "We haven't talked about it. Right now, I would say no, but that's not to say that's the final decision."
It's also possible Fletcher is trying to work another trade with a defenseman. Or, Myers may not be here for too long. His promotion very well could be for a taste of the NHL and to say job well done, kid, be ready for next season.
"I think there's a good chance he can play again in Lehigh this year," Fletcher said. "We'll see, but the fact that he's getting the call is a recognition of what he's accomplished and that he's knocking on the door."
Gordon must decide how much he opens it.
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