When it comes to filling a coaching vacancy, the Flyers would be wise to wait.
The temptation is to grab a big name. Barry Trotz, John Tortorella, Mike Babcock, Claude Julien, Jim Montgomery and several other big-time bosses are available at the moment and there could be a rush for other organizations to start plugging these guys behind their respective benches.
But the Flyers might be doing a disservice to their overall goal without knowing what kind of team they may have this fall.
There’s talk of an aggressive retool, but what if that doesn’t happen for reasons beyond the control of a willing front office.
What if there are no takers on trades that could free up potential cap space? What if no impact free agents want to come here? What if we’re stuck with a lot more of what went down in 2021-22?
Would a coach change their fortunes? To a point, yes. Maybe all this team needed was the missing swift kick in the pants to make it into the playoffs. But if you’ve watched these Stanley Cup playoffs this spring, you’d be fooling yourself to think there’s enough talent on this roster to make an honest run. Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour and Jack Adams himself probably wouldn’t have been able to do much with the mess of the 2022 season.
So why bring in a big name now? Especially when you have no idea what this team is going to look like for another few months.
And is it really smart to push for the playoffs with a flawed team and take yourself right out of the running of a chance at a generational superstar like Connor Bedard, who will be available to whichever team wins the 2023 Draft Lottery?
The rumor is that Trotz, who won a Stanley Cup with Washington, and was recently fired by the New York Islanders, is at the top of the Flyers’ wishlist. Trotz is great. And he’s certainly worthy of coaching a team that knows its identity and needs a defensive mind to steady things on the back end. Trotz did it in Washington. But he also had one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the National Hockey League in Alexander Ovechkin on his team. The Flyers, at last check, do not.
Right now, there are four other teams besides the Flyers that have a vacancy at head coach (Dallas, Detroit, Vegas and Winnipeg). And there are other good coaches available besides the five previously mentioned with NHL experience like Rick Tocchet, David Quinn and Paul Maurice. There are also a few highly sought options who are waiting to break through with their first gig if they choose to go the riskier route.
That being said, the Flyers might lose out on Trotz, but once the music stops and the chairs are filled, there will still be a few good names out there once the Flyers figure out what kind of team they want to be.
When it comes to coaches, it’s a buyer’s market, and the Flyers shouldn’t rush into a decision.
Flyers Pride Month
In celebration of Philly Gay Pride Month, FCM Hospitality is teaming up with Flyers Charities to raise money for four local LGBTQ+ organizations.
Cocktails for a Cause will be featured at 11 different locations throughout the city including the Dolphin Tavern at 1539 S. Broad St. in South Philly. Each property will offer a drink that matches a color of the all-inclusive LGBTQ rainbow flag with $1 from each rainbow drink going toward donations to William Way LGBT Community Center, Attic Youth Center, Philly Asian Queer and Galaei.
The Flyers will have their own specialty mango margarita cocktail, the “Flyers Rowdy ‘Rita,” available exclusively at Liberty Point (211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.). As part of the month-long effort, Flyers Charities will match FCM’s $1 donation up to $10,000 for every Flyers Rowdy ‘Rita.
The first-ever Cocktails for a Cause Pride Party and Kick-Off event will take place on Thursday, June 9, at Liberty Point from 5-8 p.m. Philadelphia Flyers and Flyers Charities will be on hand with Gritty (6 p.m.) and other fun surprises.
“When we first learned about Cocktails for a Cause, we were eager to get involved and help support local LGBTQ+ organizations that do so much for our city,” said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. “The Flyers belong to everyone in the City of Philadelphia, and especially during Pride Month, we want to send a clear message that we support the LGBTQ+ community.”
For more about each venue and FCM Hospitality, visit: https://www.fcmhospitality.com/liberty-point. ••