The more you see Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, the more you understand why Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren sent captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles for the two forwards in a 2011 blockbuster trade.
There were other unspoken reasons for the deal, but the bottom line is this: The Flyers were the winners.
Simmonds (23 goals, 52 points ), who scored a pair of goals in Thursday's 4-2 win over Dallas, has blossomed into one of the NHL's elite power forwards, and Schenn (17 goals, 38 points ) has made major strides as the Flyers' second-line center.
Simmonds and Schenn have combined for 40 goals and 90 points this season. Richards has nine goals and 39 points.
In Thursday's win, Simmonds scored his 13th power-play goal — tying him for second in the NHL — and later gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead on a wrist shot off the rush, firing from above the right circle.
"That's the first time I scored a goal from there in the last six years," Simmonds said. "I haven't scored a goal like that since junior."
Simmonds, 25, who is in his third season with the Flyers, has become a more consistent player.
"My first year here I did get the 28 goals, but I think there were some lapses in the season where I'd probably go 15, 16 games (without producing much)," he said. "I think there was one time I went like 17 games without a goal, and I just try to make sure I play a more complete game and more consistently."
He credits the improvement to "getting used to the league more and more. It's my sixth year in the league now, and as you get older the game starts to slow down a little bit. I don't want to say it gets easier, but I guess it does get a little bit easier."
Hagg heads to Phantoms. The Flyers on Friday agreed to terms with 6-foot-2, 204-pound defenseman Robert Hagg, their second-round pick last June, to a three-year entry-level contract. Hagg, 19, who was the youngest regular defenseman in the Sweden Hockey League, will report to the Phantoms on Tuesday, and if Kimmo Timonen retires, he could be in the discussion for a spot with the Flyers next season _ though he likely will need a full year of seasoning in the AHL.
Special guest. TJ Ramos, a nine-year old Flyers fan who suffered a heart attack last fall, met Dallas trainer Dave Zeis, before the Stars' morning practice Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. TJ suffered a heart attack during a baseball practice and was revived on the field by his coach and a teammate's parent, both local police officers.
The youngster was diagnosed with CPVT, the same condition as Dallas' Rich Peverley, who suffered a cardiac arrest during an NHL game last week. Peverley is not traveling with the team, and he underwent successful surgery Tuesday.
TJ and his family were guests of the Flyers at Thursday's game.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.