Over the course of his first season with the Flyers, veteran right winger Garnet Hathaway emerged as a "glue guy" both on the ice and in the dressing room. The 32-year-old forward dressed in all 82 games, registered 326 credited hits, killed penalties and brought the same sort of agitating pugnacity he displayed when he was playing against the Flyers.

Off the ice, Hathaway was an articulate analyst for the state of the team at any given time in a soft-spoken but honest and direct way. Shortly after signing a two-year, $2.375 AAV contract with the Flyers on July 1, 2023. Hathaway said that one of ambitions was to take on more of a leadership role. He did so by setting a strong example of day-to-day-professionalism and competitive drive.

Before signing with the Flyers, the cerebral Brown University alum did his homework on what Philadelphia aimed to accomplish in the current phase of an organizational rebuild. He also talked to various players who'd played in the past for head coach John Tortorella.

"I wanted to know what I was signing up for," Hathaway said to Jason Myrtetus in an Exit Day interview recorded for the May 24 edition of the Flyers Daily podcast.

It didn't take long for Hathaway to get settled in with his new team and to become a fan favorite. On the ice, he played most of the season on a line with center Ryan Poehling. In the first half the season, they comprised two-thirds of the fourth line with rugged veteran Nicolas Deslauriers. In the latter part of the season, Tortorella moved the duo up in the lineup rotation, where they generally played with Noah Cates on their left wing. Periodically, rookie Tyson Foerster was placed on the line to supply a little more offensive punch.

"Poehls is a really good hockey player, and an even better guy," Hathaway said on Exit Day. "I love playing alongside him. With his size, his speed, and his work ethic, I think he's only going to continue to get better."

Wherever they were situated in Tortorella's lineup, Hathaway's line with Poehling consistently created energy for the Flyers. Periodically, they chipped in some timely offense as well. They were effective forecheckers and willingly did a lot of unglamorous buy essential work in the trenches. 

In the bigger picture, Hathaway felt like he belonged in Philadelphia almost instantly. 

"It didn't feel like my first year. It felt like I've been here a long time," Hathaway said. "The group's amazing. From day one, not knowing anybody and looking back on it, felt like it's where I belong. That starts from the guys in the room and the culture they've built. It's a great group to be a part of. I'm really lucky to be a part of it."

Hathaway, like most of his teammates, was at a loss to reconcile what happened to the team during an eight-game losing streak late in the season -- against a series of previously struggling opponents -- that ultimately cost the Flyers a playoff spot. That swoon was incongruous to how much the team had otherwise improved. 

Nevertheless, Hathaway sees a teamwide learning opportunity from the experience.

"There's always going to be some adversity. It's about how you handle it. With our group, everyone has each other's back. There was no finger-pointing, no feeling sorry for ourselves," Hathaway said.

"I think the guys took a lot of strides this year. Thinking about the game, understanding the league, seeing what it takes. You can't quantify that, you can't see it from the outside, but in that room, there's guys that I think understand things better now than they did before."