Flyers: Briere, Tortorella 2022-2023 Exit Interviews

Flyers' Daniel Briere
FILE – Danny Briere speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Voorhees, N.J. The Philadelphia Flyers have fired general manager Chuck Fletcher and promoted former franchise great Danny Briere to the interim job, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday, March 10, 2023, because the move had not officially been announced. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Last Friday, the Philadelphia Flyers players sat down for their 2022-2023 exit interviews. Today, it’s time for John Tortorella and Daniel Briere to give their closing thoughts on the season.

Each player was straightforward in how they perceived the season, their relationship with Tortorella, and their commitment to the Flyers’ rebuild.

Tortorella set his sights on the 2023 NHL offseason with Briere. He’s watched a handful of games with Briere, discussing all kinds of topics about the team, including the draft and what some lineups could look like next season. Together, Tortorella and Briere addressed the media in Voorhees, NJ, at the Flyers Training Center following the conclusion of this season.

John Tortorella

It was a bad season for the Philadelphia Flyers. However, like a year ago, there were silver linings. Five players aged 25U populated the top ten in team scoring (Konecny, Tippett, Frost, Farabee, and Cates). The expectation after last season wasn’t about making the postseason. It was about progressing talent to find what sticks in Philadelphia and what doesn’t.

“Holding people accountable, you find out about people, and I found out about people.”

John Tortorella; 4/17/2023

Tortorella remains transparent that accountability drives this rebuild. It could be from the youth movement or veterans in the lineup. He’s hoping, because of the way the youth progressed, they compete to take a veteran’s spot on defense; “there’s no locks.” He isn’t interested in disrespecting a veteran player or rushing them out of a role but is anxious to see what the prospects in Lehigh Valley look like in training camp as they compete for a spot on defense.

Flyers' John Tortorella
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 08: Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella looks on during the game between the ST. Louis Blues and the Philadelphia Flyers on November 8, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

He mentioned while Brad Shaw, Darryl Williams, and Rocky Thompson served as the bench bosses, his time with Briere meant sharing opinions about subtracting players. Tortorella and Briere are mostly in agreement about which players might move on. Included in those conversations was Dan Hilferty.

We got an idea of how Tortorella coaches the team: a group setting in the theater where he is open about an individual in front of the roster and encourages players to have the initiative to fire back. About Tony DeAngelo, who Tortorella admitted showed gumption, he said this:

“I know that’s probably a big topic for you guys; Tony didn’t play the last five games, so something happened, right? That’s going to stay between Tony and I and the team. My job is to make decisions for what is best for the hockey team; my job as a coach. Sometimes it causes situations, but that’s all part of it.”

John Tortorella; 4/17/2023
Flyers' Tony DeAngelo and Morgan Frost
Philadelphia Flyers’ Tony DeAngelo, left, celebrates his goal with Morgan Frost (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Stressing the “back-end,” or defensive pairs, Tortorella reiterated accountability and finished his statement by saying, “I’m looking to see kids because if we’re not going to be accountable, we don’t agree if you think you’re doing a good enough job, you’re not going to listen that you’re not, then other people get an opportunity.”

Daniel Briere

Changes are coming to the Philadelphia Flyers. Briere did say that he isn’t interested in signing a “big time free agent with lots of term.” Additionally, he doesn’t have any update on what his title will be regarding the interim tag.

Briefly, Briere mentioned his thoughts on a few players who faced their share of trade rumors. Hayes, at his exit interview, said he “picked up the message that was sent months ago,” feeling uncertain about his future. He played the wing under Tortorella, which gives him another dimension in addition to the center, raising his value as an NHL All-Star. Another player with incredible trade value is Travis Konecny after the career season he had. Briere said this about Konecny, and it sounds like he defends not trading the team leader in points:

“I think he’s an important member moving forward. I’ve been really impressed with him, how this year took over. The last couple years; losing Jake Voracek, Claude Giroux, you’re always looking to see who’s going to take the next step, who’s going to take on a bigger bite. I think Travis is probably the one who jumped at the top of it this year.”

Daniel Briere; 4/17/2023

Regarding the youth movement, Briere stated Sam Ersson will receive an extended look at training camp. The Flyers are high on the goaltending prospect who at the least stated his case for a real goaltending competition to back up Carter Hart next season. Pivoting to another prospect, Briere shared that Cutter Gauthier will return to Boston College for another season. He could be eligible for a late 2023-2024 recall if he were to agree to an entry-level contract but expect a more dominant, faster, and stronger version of the fifth overall pick from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft after another year in the NCAA, and another World Juniors Championship tournament.

Flyers' Cutter Gauthier
MONTREAL, QC – JULY 07: Philadelphia Flyers pick Cutter Gauthier stands between management during the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on July 07, 2022 at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire)

Drafting is a critical point to the start of the rebuild for Briere. He made sure to point out that he doesn’t want to bring in outside players if it means stunting the growth of a potential NHL prospect.

“We got excited at the end of the season because we’re playing better, we’re winning games, our young guys are playing better and better, but what happens next year if we come back and there’s a regression there? We’ve seen it many times over. I want to be careful, I don’t know exactly where we’re at in the process.”

Daniel Briere; 4/17/2023

Concluding, Briere was very happy with the job Tortorella did this season saying, “when I look at our team, this year compared to last year, the way we played, the way we competed; it was night and day.”

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)