Grönborg Checks All the Flyers HC Needs

Rikard Grönborg
14 September 2016: Team Sweden head coach Rikard Gronborg in action against Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey Pre-Tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. where Team Europe defeated Team Sweden, 6-2. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

Unsurprisingly, the Philadelphia Flyers will move from Mike Yeo as the head coach. Kevin Weekes confirmed the news. The coaching search officially begins!

Yeo did connect with the youth. New prospects, waiver acquisitions, and talent acquired via trade responded to his coaching style. It couldn’t hurt for Yeo to remain with the Flyers as an assistant. Morgan Frost credited Yeo for helping him find confidence, especially on “The Kids Line:”

“He wants to be on the ice in all situations where I don’t think we saw that quite before. It felt like at certain times, he was trying not to make a mistake. Whereas now he wants to go out there and make a difference.”

Mike Yeo; 4/27/2022

The next head coach must be able to connect with this locker room. Accountability breeds a winning culture, and the next head coach has to challenge this lineup.

Of course, the next coach has to come with a pedigree of winning. It’s about not relinquishing that stress for a winning culture while finding the candidate that understands Philadelphia is under construction. An old-school approach clashes with the direction of the team. The Flyers need to catch up with the beat of the NHL. They’re the blank, stale canvas in a league of colorful graffiti.

One person checks those boxes, ready to fill this job vacancy.

Rikard Grönborg

He wrote the playbook for the U18, U20, and Swedish Olympic teams. Grönborg spearheads an advanced culture in all the areas the Philadelphia Flyers sorely lack accountability and fluidity. Hiring a coach responsible for the rise of Swedish hockey will come with its challenges, like adapting his game to a smaller rink. Comparably, that’s small potatoes to the positive qualities he could bring to Philadelphia.

Consider his intensity. Remember when Peter Laviolette stood on the bench, shouting at Dan Bylsma? Grönborg brings it.

If you recall, Lausanne HC defeated the Flyers ahead of the 2019-2020 season. Grönborg wasn’t a fan either:

Here’s another, this time featuring a death threat from the Russian bench:

Grönborg brings Broad Street from Sweden. It’s as vital to establishing an identity in 2022-2023. Philadelphia has to be tougher for their opponents to face. If there’s someone who could benefit the most from Grönborg, it’s Rasmus Ristolainen. Grönborg formerly played defense and could play a critical role in stabilizing and unlocking the potential residing within Ristolainen.

Grönborg Style

He’ll be the first to admit that it’s not original. Everything’s borrowed:

  • Skating: Russia
  • Checking: Russia
  • Passing: Russia
  • Board Battles: United States
  • Net-Front, Dirty Areas: United States

It’s the way Grönborg borrowed these styles.

“We’re looking for long term development. We only got 65,000 registered players in Sweden. We got to be really careful how we develop these players. Winning is important, but so is development.”

Rikard Grönborg; 11/21/2019

Grönborg encourages his players to play freely. He lets the players make decisions, meaning they’re allowed to make mistakes. Letting the players make decisions means he encourages them to try to make plays. He will not micromanage the players, actively interested to know what the players see from their perspective.

“I think us coaches, we can learn quite a lot from the players.”

Rikard Grönborg; 11/21/2019

The Philadelphia Flyers weren’t efficiently controlling the puck in 2021-2022. Grönborg says, “you can have puck control when you don’t even have the puck by controlling where the puck is at.” If the lineup could be in sync to proactively and reactively control the puck, this current lineup would be a lot better.

All of the effective styles within hockey contribute to Grönborg and his playbooks. Real recognize real. He understands what works and is diligent enough to install different hockey flavors into his system. His hybrid style would be a refreshing take for the Flyers. It would shock the system, making Philadelphia less predictable in all areas, especially on the powerplay.

NHL Impressions

Already on the radar of franchises like the Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, and the New Jersey Devils, Grönborg has been a commodity. European hockey, in general, is solidifying its mark in the future of NHL hockey:

Will the Philadelphia Flyers ride the wave of the future or remain prehistoric?

(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)