When Chuck Fletcher took over as the General Manager of the Flyers a few weeks ago, he envisioned a long-term commitment to the Draft, while preaching a swift moving rebuild. Fletcher is committed to keeping the house that Hextall has built, but wants to win asap. He has inherited a young Flyers team that is just flat-out inconsistent, and they needed a new face. Well, today it begins as Fletcher has fired former Head Coach Dave Hakstol, and has hired Joel Quenneville to be his replacement.
Hakstol (NHL coaching record 122-86-38) was hired by Hextall on May 18, 2015, as Hakstol formerly coached a very good hockey program at the University of North Dakota. He was known as having the stare, and apparently was good with grooming young talent. For instance, Hakstol eventually groomed Zach Parise and TJ Oshie into NHL mainstays. However, in year four of his tenure as Head Coach of the Flyers, they are inconsistent once again early in the season, in a season the orange and black were supposed to take the next step in terms of their rebuild. Hakstol did seem a little nervous the day following Hextall’s ouster as he stated, “It’s a tough morning, a tough morning. I’m going to continue to focus and work on that job to the best of my abilities. That’s what I told the players. I don’t look over my shoulders.”
The four year coach in Hakstol forced Fletcher’s hand into making this coaching change mid-season. After being pummeled 7-1 by the Winnipeg Jets last Sunday. The Flyers then lost to the Calgary Flames 6-5 in overtime, the Edmonton Oilers 4-1, and the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. Moreover, the Flyers were supposed to ahead of three of these teams in terms of the rebuild process in the Flames, Oilers, and the Canucks. The timing of this change is right, and hopefully the orange and black can move in the right direction now.
Hopefully, Fletcher can right the ship, and eventually lead the Flyers proud organization to the promised land. It may take a year to two, but who knows, right? The Flyers made a bold move, and this puts everyone on notice, to include the players. The players share some responsibility for the lack of success this season too, not just Hextall and the coaching staff. One thing is certain Flyers fans, time will tell how this bold move pans out.