Danny Briere’s first trade deadline as general manager of the Flyers is in the books. If his first offseason presented the challenges of having to sell off pieces that didn’t fit the Flyers future with little leverage, his challenge at the trade deadline came from the players that stayed coming into this season.

Less than 24 hours before the trade deadline, the Flyers managed to take down the NHL’s top team down multiple defensemen, playing an entirely rookie pair with little NHL experience, a rookie goaltender, all to continue to maintain their playoff spot in third place in the Metropolitan Division. Just when you think things may be falling off, this team rallies off the mat and finds a way again.

Earlier in the week, Briere made the move that spoke volumes about rebuilding. After acquiring Sean Walker in the offseason and watching him go from essentially a salary cap piece to a reliable second-pairing defenseman, Briere was able to flip the contract and get back the first-round pick he wanted.

The Flyers will now have two first-round picks in both the 2024 and 2025 NHL Draft as a result.

With that tidy piece of business completed, Briere’s next move set the tone for what the message and purpose behind the rebuild is.

On the surface, rebuilding sounds like something that requires tearing everything down to the studs, sending everything out and bringing a ton of new things in. But that’s not how Briere sees this.

Briere is focused on continuing to repair and strengthen a locker room culture that was lacking in years past. Remember at the beginning of the season how John Tortorella said that the locker room needed to change? It’s changed for the better already this season.

With every monumental win that the Flyers pick up – and there may have been none bigger than Thursday’s in Florida – the tightness of the room is on full display. And that was something Briere wasn’t going to break up without getting the right price.

It’s why the Flyers extended Nick Seeler, a 30-year-old defenseman, for four more years. It’s why Scott Laughton, valued around the league and definitely drawing interest at the deadline, remained a Flyer after Friday’s deadline.

“I was honest with Scott from the beginning. My job as a general manager is to listen to what’s out there,” Briere said. “Scott and I have a special relationship because we played together. There’s a bond that forms there. We’re trying to be as honest as we can with our players. I was up front with him. I told him that I wasn’t shopping him, first of all. I wasn’t going to trade him for fair value. Because he’s more than fair value to us.

“The intangibles that he brings in the locker room is something that has no prices, and the other teams don’t see that, but we do. I said ‘we’re not going to trade you if it’s just a fair trade.’ Someone would have to overstep and really knock it out of the ballpark for us to consider it. We did listen. I had a lot of teams interested in him. There’s not a lot of centermen and he’s a good one. I said ‘teams around the NHL still value you.’ I think that’s exciting for him, but not good enough for us to let a player like that go that is critical to the development of our locker room and our young guys around him.”

So as the Flyers establish that both Seeler and Laughton remain key to developing the locker room, and after making a seller’s move with Walker, they also took the most-recent result and its implications on the standings into consideration as well.

So on Friday, two days after making their selling move, they also added two depth players essentially as a reward for the rest of the team that is 18 games away from unexpectedly making the playoffs.

Acquiring Denis Gurianov from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Wade Allison is a change-of-scenery move. Both players were essentially factored out of plans in their current organizations. Gurianov, a former 12th overall pick in 2015, gets the chance to have a fresh start in Philadelphia.

“He’s interesting,” Briere said. “A big, 6’3” left winger that can skate like him. The fact that he’s had some success in big games. I know it’s been a little tougher for him the last couple of years. If he catches fire again, we’re a little thin on the left side and he brings up speed and size.”

Then, with their blue line depleted due to injuries to Seeler, Jamie Drysdale, and Rasmus Ristolainen, the Flyers added veteran blueliner Erik Johnson. Johnson certainly adds to the locker room culture equation. The former first overall pick was a long-time alternate captain in Colorado, including when winning the Stanley Cup in 2022.

Additionally, Briere talked about the bond created from having played with Laughton in the past. In Briere’s final NHL season, he was teammates with Johnson in Colorado.

“It’s mostly his experience, what he can share with our group,” Briere said. “Maybe bring a little bit of stability back there. Being comfortable in the moment. When you have guys who have played as many playoff games as he has, it’s an asset. He can help a group that is on the younger side. Our guys have played extremely well, but at the end of the day, it’s still a young team.”

Briere’s first trade deadline involved a little bit of everything. He kept his eyes on the future, grabbing another first-round pick. He rewarded the current team for what they’ve done to exceed expectations this season, providing two cheap assets to help in the playoff push. And, perhaps most importantly, made clear what the most important aspect of the rebuild really is, building a locker room culture that can stand up and remain united throughout the entire season.

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

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