Danny Briere announced his presence as a GM with authority.

Trading Ivan Provorov and two AHLers for three players and three high draft picks, and doing so by getting a third team involved and having them retain part of Provorov’s salary, is a master stroke that’s usually reserved for experienced GMs and not one who had never made a trade at this level previously.

Look at it this way –

Ivan Provorov, regardless of what you think of him, wasn’t going to be a part of the Flyers future. His contract expires in two years, and he did not like it in Philadelphia any longer. While he didn’t demand a trade, he let the Flyers know that he felt going someplace else to play was probably best for all involved.

The Flyers agreed. Unhappy with the progress, or lack thereof, that Provorov had made to this point in his career, and concerned about his fit in the locker room from a culture perspective, coupled with the player’s desire to play elsewhere, made him a must-trade this offseason.

The question was, with teams knowing the Flyers likely needed to move on from Provorov, would others try to leverage that against a first-time GM?

The answer was that Briere was prepared for that.

This is what having a plan is all about. Sure, Briere knew there’d be interest in Provorov. He may not have developed into a Norris Trophy-type candidate here, but he is still a good defenseman. He’s still a No. 2. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But, Briere also knew teams would identify the need to move on from him, and maybe try and come in with a lower offer than the Flyers may have wanted to accept.

Putting those puzzle pieces together first, Briere was able to realize that the only way to maximize Provorov’s value was by being willing to take on contracts that another team was looking to unload, and find a way to utilize them in the short-term, to guarantee a greater return of assets that are designed to benefit the team in the long-term.

So Briere worked with the Los Angeles Kings, who had buyer’s remorse on goalie Cal Petersen, who has two years remaining on a contract that comes with an annual cap hit of $5 million.

Considering Carter Hart makes less than $4 million, this is obviously a bad contract. But it’s one that Briere knows is palatable for two seasons , even if Peterson ends up being waived and playing in the AHL with the Phantoms, to ensure a greater return.

Briere also took defenseman Sean Walker from the Kings. Walker is actually a solid, veteran, third pair guy who has one year left on his current deal at $2.65 million. He’ll be useful for a 2023-24 Flyers team that has low expectations, and who knows, maybe if he has a good year (He did score 10 goals for the Kings last season), could be flipped for an additional asset at the trade deadline.

The Flyers took in more money than was going out. The Kings, meanwhile, got out from under those contracts, and were so thankful, they agreed to pay 30% of Provorov’s contract for Columbus, gave the Flyers Helge Grans, a right-handed Swedish defensive prospect who they drafted in the second round two years ago, and added a second round pick in 2024.

The Blue Jackets are now getting Provorov for two years at a discount, having to only pay $4.725 million each year. This discount was enough for them to part with their second first round pick (that they originally acquired from L.A.) in the 2023 draft, something they may have been reluctant to do had they been on the hook for the full salary, plus a conditional second round pick that will convey in either 2024 or 2025, based on a decision the Jackets will make at the end of the first round of next year’s draft.

By being willing to take on salaries the Kings wanted to dump, Briere was able to land four real assets in the trade, plus two others that will help get through the next season or two.

I already mentioned Walker’s value. Grans had a down year in 2022-23, but still projects as an NHL caliber defenseman with the upside of making it onto a second pair – and also played with another Flyers defensive prospect – Emil Andrae – on the Swedish National Team, and Petersen’s fit is uncertain at the moment, but if the Flyers decide to move on from Carter Hart, he’ll share time with Sam Ersson next season, and then likely become his backup for a season before his contract expires.

More than anything, this was good business. Briere cashed in one valuable piece and got back six assets of varying degree. When you stockpile assets, you put yourself in better position down the road to be able to make the moves necessary to compete for a championship.

And Briere isn’t done.

Kevin Hayes is still going to be moved. Likely Tony DeAngelo too.

And a lot of speculation arose yesterday about the Flyers trading Carter Hart as well. It could happen, but based on my conversations, it sounds like it’s about 50/50 right now.

Hart has a tone of value and there is interest from around the league. Several teams have been checking in with Briere, and I’m hearing that four Canadian teams are especially interested – Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton.

The Flyers are going to want a big name prospect/player back in return from these teams for Hart. The question is, would they go so far? Would Toronto consider Matthew Kneis? Would Ottawa part with Jake Sanderson? Would Montreal put a package together that would allow the Flyers to move up to No. 5 in this draft and be able to get a player like Matvei Michkov, if he falls to five, or Will Smith, if he doesn’t?

Finding out is the game Briere is playing now, and after his first trade as a GM, the rest of the NHL learned that he’s a quick study.