It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Flyers have gone through some more than trying times lately. Their 11-12-2 record sees them in second-to-last place within the Metropolitan Division and without a general manager, assistant general manager, and short an assistant coach. Now, after a tumultuous few days for the organization, fresh faces are arriving. New additions to the front office and a team desperate to get going look to turn the page on a sour chapter of the team’s story.
Chuck Fletcher Checks In
After a week of being without a general manager, it was announced Monday that Chuck Fletcher was hired as the team’s new GM and Executive Vice President. In an official press release, Philadelphia stated that Fletcher is the ninth general manager in team history and “immediately places him as the day-to-day leader of the club’s NHL and minor league hockey operations.”
Dave Scott, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Spectacor and Governor of the Flyers, as well as Flyers President Paul Holmgren both expressed their happiness bringing Fletcher to the organization. Scott was quoted saying, “At the conclusion of a rigorous review of GM candidates, Chuck Fletcher clearly stood out from the field of talented and capable executives we considered.” Holmgren stated, “Throughout his career he has helped shape teams that have consistently competed in the playoffs.”
Fletcher’s resume and track record prove Holmgren’s words to be true. Most notably, as the general manager of the Minnesota Wild, the 51-year-old led his team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs six out of nine seasons. Also, he served as assistant general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006 to 2009 and was part of the team’s Stanley Cup Championship that year. Most recently, Fletcher served as the Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Hockey Operations for the New Jersey Devils prior to coming to the Flyers.
Bringing Wilson to the Bench?
With a new general manager in place, a report from Brad E. Schlossman from the Grand Forks Herald seemed to reveal another piece of Philadelphia’s new management puzzle via Twitter:
Rick Wilson to Philly is done. The former UND defenseman and longtime NHL assistant coach will replace Gord Murphy as Flyers assistant under Dave Hakstol. Wilson to join team this week.
— Brad E. Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) December 3, 2018
Details on the hiring are scarce but TSN’s Frank Seravalli also reported the move saying that Wilson coming to Philadelphia was a possibility. Currently, there is no official news from Philadelphia but things could change. As per Yardbarker.com, Wilson is a seasoned veteran in the realm of coaching and worked with Fletcher as part of the Wild from 2010 through 2016. The article also states that Wilson worked alongside Ken Hitchcock as a coach of the Dallas Stars last season but is currently not working. Now, with information slowly coming to light, Wilson seems to be employed once again.
As fresh faces join the front office, the players themselves have been fighting to right the ship on the ice. Since former general manager Ron Hextall was fired on Nov. 26, the Flyers have won one of two games played. However, that one victory came against the cross-state rival Penguins on Saturday night.
It seems as if the latest installment of the Battle of PA has sparked a fire under the rear ends of Philadelphia’s “troops.” After being scored on in the first minute of the game, the Flyers tightened up and came out on top, 4-2, after a strong 60-minute effort. Notably, forward Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves with Pittsburgh’s Jamie Oleksiak after the opening goal, which might have swung the tide in favor of Philadelphia for the remainder of the game. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz earned his first NHL win since 2016, making 30 saves between the pipes.Perhaps, with a solid win over a bitter rival, the Flyers will have some much-needed momentum and confidence going into their upcoming schedule. A Thursday tilt will see the Columbus Blue Jackets come to the Wells Fargo Center, followed by a the Flyers taking a five-game road trip through Buffalo and Western Canada.
It’s time to move forward for the Flyers. Armed with a new general manager and potential assistant coach, there’s a fresh perspective on the road ahead. There’s still work to be done with the team but a sense of security bolstered by a big win seems to have come back to the franchise after a long stretch of nothing more than mediocrity. Now, it’s up to the front office and players alike to bring the team back to its expected glory.