Flyers fire general manager Chuck Fletcher amid team’s second straight losing season

Less than a week after the trade deadline, the Flyers decided to take a positive step in a new direction, firing Chuck Fletcher on Friday. Hired on December 3, 2018, Fletcher had worked for the organization for more than four years. Former Flyer Danny Brière will take over on an interim basis.

The Philadelphia Flyers organization has always been defined by grit, determination and a standard of excellence,” said Dave Scott, president of Comcast Spectacor and governor of the Flyers, in a team statement. “Over the past few seasons, our team has simply not lived up to that standard, so today we will begin to chart a new course under a new leadership structure for hockey operations.

READ MORE: A timeline of the Chuck Fletcher era in Philadelphia

“This morning we released Chuck Fletcher from his responsibilities as President and CEO. We are grateful for his hard work and dedication to this organization, and we wish him only the best for the future.

The Flyers, currently 24-30-11, went 141-144-43 (.495 percentage points) overall under Fletcher. They have only reached the playoffs once, in the 2020 season. Three of those seasons have been impacted by COVID-19, including this playoff season when the Flyers went 41-21. -7 and missed a game to reach the conference finals.

Things quickly began to deteriorate in the 2020-21 season as the Flyers, who entered this season with high expectations, finished sixth of eight teams in their division and missed the playoffs. Last season was even worse, as the Flyers’ .372 point percentage was the second-worst of the franchise season. The team also suffered two 10-plus game losing streaks, including a franchise-record 13 games, while suffering a slew of injuries that resulted in the loss of over 500 games against a man.

“Chuck has faced significant challenges during his tenure as President and CEO, some of which were beyond his control, but we’ve reached a point where we need to move in a different direction and look to the future under new leadership.” , Scott said. .

Fletcher, 55, oversaw what he anticipated would be an “aggressive retooling” this past offseason. He admitted it ended up being “a little lukewarm”. The Flyers’ biggest move was trading three draft picks and subsequently signing defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a 2-year, $10 million deal. DeAngelo, who is minus-28 on the year, has been benched at various times this season by coach John Tortorella.

The Flyers have qualified for the playoffs in just one of the four-plus seasons Chuck Fletcher has served as general manager..Learn moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Before the season, Fletcher claimed the Flyers would be “competitive.” And he maintained that sentiment until early December. Last week, before the trade deadline, he changed his tune completely, saying the Flyers would be “sellers” and start moving as they look to the long-term future of the organization.

READ MORE: ‘We’re selling’: Chuck Fletcher cites the future as he announces the Flyers are open for business (from February)

As the deadline approached, the organization was all but certain to deal with unrestricted free agent James van Riemsdyk, while there were also rumors the Flyers could potentially make a bigger move. involving a player with a contract length like Kevin Hayes. However, when the deadline passed, Fletcher had not traded van Riemsdyk, the bare minimum, or any of the team’s other prominent players. He claimed he had received no genuine offers for van Riemsdyk, a tall veteran striker with nearly 300 goals to his name.

It was the latest in a series of failures by Fletcher as a negotiator. In recent years, he’s made several risky deals in a bid to win now that didn’t pan out, highlighted by deals for Rasmus Ristolainen, Ryan Ellis and DeAngelo.

“Flyers fans deserve a better team than they’ve seen on the ice in recent seasons, and a clear plan to get this team back to the Stanley Cup,” Scott said. “We know this will be a multi-year process, and we’re committed to getting it right, because we want to put this franchise on the path to winning the Stanley Cup, period.”

Chuck Fletcher’s decision to trade three picks and sign Tony DeAngelo to a $10 million deal last summer was a real headache..Learn moreSteven M. Falk / Personal Photographer

Fletcher and his staff oversaw four NHL drafts during his tenure. His first pick as general manager, Cam York (14th overall in 2019), was recalled from the AHL on Dec. 9 and is Fletcher’s only draft pick to have had a significant impact at the NHL level so far. now. His most recent first-round pick, Cutter Gauthier (5th overall), is currently a freshman at Boston College, where he leads his team with 37 points in 31 games.

Since Fletcher’s arrival, there have been five different coaches behind the Flyers bench, including two interim bosses. Dave Hakstol was fired two weeks after Fletcher was hired, and Scott Gordon took over on an interim basis. Fletcher then hired Alain Vigneault on April 15, 2019. He lasted two years and eight months before being fired in December 2021 amid what became a 10-game losing streak. Mike Yeo saw out the rest of the season before Tortorella was hired by Fletcher last June.

READ MORE: Examining Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher’s history as a trader ahead of Friday’s deadline

During his 30 years as an NHL executive, Fletcher previously served as general manager for the Minnesota Wild and in other roles for the Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Ducks. from Anaheim. Fletcher was the Flyers’ first general manager since 1990 who was not a former player with the organization.

The 55-year-old has also served as team president alongside Valerie Camillo, president and CEO of Spectator Sports and Entertainment, since July 2019. In the statement, Scott revealed that the organization will separate the general manager and the president of hockey. operational roles into two separate hires in the future. For now, Brière will hold both positions.

“He is a perfect fit for the role, having served as special assistant to the Flyers general manager for the past year in addition to his more than 25 years in professional hockey as a player and in management,” Scott said of of Briere. “He will provide a smooth transition after Chuck’s departure and support the team and coach John Tortorella through the remainder of the season and into the offseason.”

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