With NHL trade deadline not far off, Flyers know what's at stake

Tortorella reiterates process as Flyers see opportunity before trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

VOORHEES, N.J. — As the Flyers hit the post-All-Star runway Monday, John Tortorella won't forget how far his club has to go.

He also won't ignore the progress the Flyers made from the holiday break to this most recent break of eight days without a game. The Flyers went 10-4-2 between the breaks, which has put them in position to keep things interesting during February.

But the Flyers can't sit on a positive stretch.

"We're not good enough. We're not good enough to think we have everything solved," Tortorella said Monday during his team's morning skate. "I want to make sure you understand, this doesn't change my thinking as far as the process of what this team has to go through. This is going to take time.

"But I also need to realize that they're on a good run here, too. You need to let them feel good about themselves.

"But I'm not getting away from what the process is going to be in my mind as the coach. We need to stay on top of ourselves or it gets away from you really quickly."

The Flyers are 21-21-9 and the NHL trade deadline is March 3. With 31 games left in the season, the Flyers are six points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, but the team's decision-makers very much have the future in mind. The club is in transition mode after it lost 57 games last season (25-46-11) and missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94.

While the Flyers should have a seller's frame of mind come March in order to supplement their summer activity, players view February as a pivotal opportunity. An opportunity to force the hand a bit and put some pressure on the teams above them.

After all, they've made things interesting to this point. They come out of their extended All-Star break with a four-game homestand, which starts Monday against the Islanders (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

"As far as where we're at in the standings, I don't look much because I know .500 ain't gonna cut it," Tony DeAngelo said Sunday. "So we've got plenty of wins to get. If we keep going, sure, we'll start taking a look at them.

"I think for all teams, not just us, this is a push month. Solidify your playoff spot for some teams so they go into buyer's mode and then for teams like us, try to work your way into it to hopefully keep some guys around. It'll be an interesting month for sure."

Does the coaching staff and front office have to forecast how the team could look after the deadline?

"I know there are meetings. I'm coaching the team," Tortorella said Sunday. "I'm sure in the meetings, they're going to ask the coaches some of the needs of the team, evaluate players come near the deadline. All that is done in the management part of it.

"I'll answer any questions that come my way from management as far as what I feel about players, what they feel about what our needs are. But my job is to coach the team. They're the ones that are out there looking at players and all stuff like that. We're focused on our club."

In their 10-4-2 run between the breaks, the Flyers scored 3.25 goals per game and didn't lose consecutive games in regulation.

"Good month of January," Scott Laughton said Sunday. "Kind of got back to where our game needs to be trending. I think guys realize where we're at and what's going on. Have a good stretch here, we're at home for a little bit now, feed off the Eagles a little bit this week."

The Flyers will try to build on what they've made and not dwell on the uncertainty of the looming trade deadline.

"The deadline may be a bit more action than usual, but at the same time, you could get traded at any point," Ivan Provorov said Sunday. "So you can't live and play and feel like you're sitting on a ticking bomb. You've just got to go out there and enjoy practice days, game days and try to do the best that you can — get better and continue to contribute for your team and your teammates."

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