Flyers fire GM Chuck Fletcher, Daniel Briere takes over with interim tag
An ineffective NHL trade deadline was part of Fletcher’s last gasp as Flyers GM.
The Philadelphia Flyers fired president and general manager Chuck Fletcher on Friday, opting to name Daniel Brière as interim GM.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Giana Han and Olivia Reiner broke the news, and shared a statement from team executive Dave Scott. Here are some of the highlights from Scott’s statement.
“The Philadelphia Flyers organization has always been defined by grit, determination, and a standard of excellence,” Scott said. “Over the past several seasons, our team simply has not lived up to that standard, so today, we will begin to chart a new path forward under a new leadership structure for hockey operations."
Interestingly, Scott admitted that it could be a “multi-year process” to get the Flyers back on track, but otherwise kept the plan vague.
“Flyers fans deserve a better team than what they’ve seen on the ice over the past few seasons, and a clear plan to return this team to Stanley Cup contention,” Scott said. “We know that this will be a multi-year process, and we are committed to doing it right, because we want to put this franchise on a path toward winning the Stanley Cup, period.”
Reiner reports that while Brière carries an interim GM title, he’ll still be considered in the team’s larger search.
Danny Brière, who is holding the Flyers' interim GM role, will be considered for the full-time role as well as the president of hockey ops job. Not a surprise, as the organization has been investing in him for a while now. My story from last year:https://t.co/sqNuMtak0e
— Olivia Reiner (@ReinerOlivia) March 10, 2023
Ineffective trade deadline part of Fletcher’s last gasp as Flyers GM
Since Fletcher took over, the Flyers compiled a combined record of 141-145-48, tying for 21st in points percentage (.494%) since December 6, 2018. While the Flyers finished a Game 7 away from a conference final appearance in 2019-20, the team is on its way to missing the playoffs in four of five seasons under Fletcher.
Fletcher came to the Flyers after a lengthy run as Minnesota Wild GM that yielded mixed results at best.
If you want a sign of the dysfunction that goes beyond Fletcher, consider the strange choice to fire him after a dud of a trade deadline instead of handing the controls to Brière with enough time to start making some moves.
Given the tenor of the fanbase and the state of the Flyers, a change at the top was basically inevitable. That said, it's wild that ownership let Fletcher run the trade deadline & sent him out to talk to season ticket holders last weekend only to fire him a week later.
— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) March 10, 2023
Notably, Fletcher failed to find a trade partner for pending free agents such as James van Riemsdyk and Justin Braun.
It was baffling the Flyers didn’t make a GM change last offseason, when the writing was on the wall that a rebuild was the sober and wise approach. Instead, an embattled Fletcher stayed in place to make additional missteps, such as a sign-and-trade deal for Tony DeAngelo, and the desperate hiring of John Tortorella as head coach.
Ideally, the Flyers could have added a bit more to their draft stock at the 2023 trade deadline and maybe even found a way to wiggle out of one or more of Fletcher’s many onerous contracts. A more rebuild-friendly approach might have also left the Flyers with a better chance to grab top draft lottery odds. This is what the Flyers’ list of draft choices looks like right now, via Cap Friendly:
Brière or a full-time GM will be tasked with improving a middle-of-the-pack prospect pool and making tough team-building decisions. There are rumblings the Flyers might try to pull off what would likely be a difficult Kevin Hayes trade, and may also want to sell high on one of their few young stars in Travis Konecny.
Truly, it’s a mess, and while Fletcher earns the most ire, the organization at large absorbs blame for being too stubborn to admit it was time to pull the plug last offseason (if not earlier). While it’s better late than never, the Flyers have a big mess to clean up, and it remains to be seen if they’ll find the right people and plan to get on track.