Flyers Fire Fletcher, Place Brière as Interim GM

The Philadelphia Flyers named Danny Brière the interim general manager (GM) after firing the previous GM and President of Hockey Operations Chuck Fletcher. The organization plans to permanently fill both roles with two separate hires. The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first to report the news. The Flyers currently sit 15 points out of a playoff spot in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division.

Related: Fletcher Fails Flyers with NHL Trade Deadline Blunder

“In the coming days, we will begin the process of re-structuring our Hockey Operations Department by separating the President and General Manager positions. We view this as a critical opportunity to not only re-establish the standard of excellence that our fans expect, but also to bring new energy, accountability, and strategic vision to our organization,” said Dave Scott, Chairman of Comcast Spectacor and franchise governor, in the organization’s official press release. 

Fletcher Fired

The Flyers will almost certainly miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2022-23 for the fourth time in five seasons since 2018-19. Fletcher took over as GM to replace Ron Hextall in December 2018 while the team faced an uphill battle to qualify for the postseason. The former Minnesota Wild executive inherited a favorable salary cap situation that Hextall patiently maneuvered and a highly-valued prospect pipeline.

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher
Former Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher (Jose F. Morena/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

The 2019-20 season looked like a turning point in Philadelphia when the Flyers climbed up the Eastern Conference standings before the Covid-19 pause in March 2020 and won their only playoff series since 2012 in the Toronto bubble. However, they crashed and burned with consecutive embarrassing seasons in 2020-21 and 2021-22. They finished tied for the most goals against in the two seasons combined and missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94.

Head coach John Tortorella and other members of the organization have publicly spoken about their desire to concentrate on acquiring talent with an eye on long-term success. However, Fletcher failed to move veteran players for significant draft capital or prospects ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3. He held onto Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov when both players don’t seem to have a long-term place in the organization’s plans, and he failed to put together a deal to move veteran James van Riemsdyk for any return package.

Brière Promoted

The Flyers chose to promote from within to fill the position on an interim basis. Brière joined the organization in 2015 under Hextall. He served roles with the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, an entity of Comcast Spectacor, from 2017-2021. The Montreal Canadiens considered the Quebec native for their GM vacancy last season before choosing Jeff Gorton to fill the role. He received the title of special assistant to the GM with the Flyers in February 2022.

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Brière played six seasons for the Flyers from 2007-2013 as part of a 17-year NHL career with five different organizations. He scored 283 points in 364 regular-season games in orange and black, but his biggest contributions came during the postseason. The 5-foot-9 forward set a franchise record for points in a single postseason with 30 during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he averaged over a point per game in 68 total playoff contests with the Flyers.

He signed with Philadelphia as a free agent in 2007 after the team finished with the worst record in franchise history in 2006-07. When the Flyers promoted him last season, he spoke about how his experience coming to a struggling team and helping a quick turnaround might apply to his work as an executive.

“I remember when I signed that year. I think the Flyers were last the previous season, and it looked pretty bleak. But sometimes you’ve got to look a little deeper and find the positive. And at the time I believed in what Paul Holmgren was doing. I believed in the players that were in the system coming up. I thought it was a team that was being built for the future, not just for a year or two. And that’s why I was so interested in joining the Flyers back then. Hopefully, we can have that same kind of turnaround. I said it earlier. Sometimes, you have a bad season. Well, you’ve got to take advantage of it. There’s other opportunities that show up in front of you. You’ve got to jump on that,” the first-time NHL GM said.

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