Danny Briere’s first trade deadline has now officially come and gone, and he was able to make moves to both better the Flyers in the here and now and also in the future.

In the end, out went Sean Walker, Wade Allison, and fourth and fifth round draft picks.

In came Erik Johnson, Denis Gurianov, Ryan Johansen and half his contract, a conditional first round pick, and a fifth round pick.

Help the team win now, help the team’s future.

“I didn’t have a check list per se,” Briere said. “It’s all about adjusting along the way. Things change throughout the day, you’re getting calls (discussing) different players and it changes from one minute to the next. The one thing that we had going into today was we wanted to provide a little bit of experience to our depth on defense after losing Sean Walker without spending high-end assets.”

And that’s what they got with Johnson, 35, who just so happens to be a former teammate of Briere’s. The two played together in Colorado during Briere’s last season in 2014-15.

Johnson was the first overall pick by the St. Louis Blues in 2006, but spent most of his career with the Avalanche, winning the Stanley Cup with them in 2021-22. He signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with Buffalo last summer and scored three goals in 50 games with the Sabres before being traded to Philly.

Although the Flyers parted ways with a fourth round pick for him, it’s a smart move because of how depleted the defense was because of the Walker trade, plus injuries to Jamie Drysdale and Nick Seeler. If the Flyers are going to hold on to their playoff spot, with so many games against top teams coming, they feel they have a fighter’s chance with a more veteran defense rather than relying on Lehigh Valley Phantoms defensemen in an NHL playoff race.

Gurianov for Allison is a far more intriguing deal.

Gurianov, 26, a former first round pick of the Dallas Stars, had a breakout season in 2019-20 when he scored 20 goals and had nine more in the playoffs, including the one that sent Dallas to the Stanley Cup Final:

However, he has slowly fallen off the map, and bounced from Dallas to Montreal to Nashville where he fell out of favor and was available at the deadline.

But there’s something there in his game and the Flyers hope they can tap into it.

“He’s interesting,” Briere said. “He’s a 6-3 winger who can skate. The fact that he’s had some success in some big games is pretty interesting. I know it’s been a little tougher for him the last couple years, but if he catches fire again – we’re a little thin on the left side – he brings us speed and size, so who knows where that goes.”

Neither of these moves are going to win the Flyers a Stanley Cup, but neither broke the bank either. A mid-round pick in a shallow draft and a fallen star prospect who needed a change of scenery is a small price to pay to try and help your team make the postseason.

The biggest story of the day may have been the fact that the Flyers did not trade Scott Laughton. His name was in rumors for months, and the Flyers were transparent with him about the possibility of having to move on, but it didn’t happen. Not right now anyway.

“I was honest with Scott from the beginning,” Briere said. “We have a special relationship because we played together. I told him I wasn’t shopping him and I wouldn’t trade him for fair value. That’s because he’s more than fair value to us. The intangibles he brings to the locker room is something that has no price. The other teams don’t see that. We do.”

It’s just another way you build the culture of the team that you want without tearing it down completely to the studs. Laughton has great value. The Flyers likely could have had a high draft pick for him. But what he means to the team is worth more than a lottery ticket.

“When we hired Torts we started changing the culture a little bit, and without Sean Couturier in the locker room last year, Scott was the guy who stepped up the most and started working on that culture change. This season, he was still one of the leaders in that department. The way he treats his teammates and coaches… we have a term in French that I can’t seem to get (in English) but he brings people together. It would have been scary to let a guy go like that in the situation we are in where we are trying to make the playoffs.”

Some fans won’t accept that as an answer, but the reality is when you build a team, and you compete as a team, it’s more integral to have that togetherness than anything else. And he’s the heartbeat for the Flyers.

To be a first-time GM and be able to recognize that tells you that Briere is a fast learner, although he admits there were still lessons to be learned during his first traded deadline.

“It was interesting,” he said. “I learned a lot. The thing that I’m most proud of is how we all worked together. Jonesy was in that room. Dan Hilferty stopped by. Our AGMs. The analytics guys. Our pro scouts. I’m most proud of how we worked together. Everybody had their say and had their opinion. For me personally, it was my first one. I don’t know if this was normal or not. But it was a fun day.”

Something tells me he’s going to have a lot more of them that will be just as fun in the future.