3 takeaways from Daniel Briere’s end of season press conference

Flyers' GM Daniel Briere
FILE – Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team newly appointed Special Assistant to the General Manager, Daniel Briere, arrives for a news conference in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. The Flyers have named long-time television analyst Keith Jones team president of hockey operations and have removed the interim tag from general manager Danny Briere’s title. Jones was a surprise choice Thursday, May 11, 2023, after he spent the last 23 years as an analyst for Flyers telecasts on NBC Sports Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The 2023-2024 season was full of surprises for the Philadelphia Flyers. Entering the season with low expectations, the team was in the playoff hunt for the majority of the campaign. Despite missing the postseason, there are plenty of positive takeaways for the rebuilding Flyers’ squad.

On Friday the team held their end of the season press conferences. Players spoke, as well as head coach John Tortorella and general manager Daniel Briere. The team’s general manager spoke at length on a number of topics heading into the offseason and the 2024-2025 regular season. Here are three of the biggest takeaways from Briere’s media day.

1. The rebuild speed has likely not changed

Flyers' Bobby Brink celebration.
Philadelphia Flyers’ Bobby Brink, right, and Egor Zamula celebrate after Brink’s goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

When asked if the pace of the Flyer’s rebuild timeline has accelerated due to the team’s success this season, Briere noted that it is probably too early to tell. He mentioned that he was happy to see progress from some of the young players like Tyson Foerster, Bobby Brink, and Sam Ersson.

However, Briere noted that he still does not view his team as a Stanley Cup contender despite seeing positive development from some of his players.

“I know the expectation next year will be that — oh, we’ve got to get into the playoffs. I don’t even know that we’re there yet. It was a great year, but there’s still a long ways to go. We have to be very careful with that going into next year.”

Daniel Briere 4/19/2024

Given the uncertainty heading into next season, the Flyers would be wise to not enter with a “win now” mentality. The front office has a vision and will stick to their rebuilding timeline. The expectation is to continue to develop young player.

Briere was asked if the organization would look to add veteran talent to expedite the rebuild. The former player turned GM said that they would if it makes sense from a hockey standpoint, but not just to become a playoff contender next year.

“If there’s a trade that makes sense, that can bring more talent, there’s a way that makes sense, maybe it’s a hockey trade, we’re definitely open for business and we’re going to keep exploring that.”

Daniel Briere 4/19/2024

2. Briere addresses the goaltending situation heading into next season

Flyers' Samuel Ersson
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson blocks a shot by the Anaheim Ducks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Goaltending was a strength for the Flyers in the beginning of the 2023-2024 season. The depth at the goalie position took a hit when Carter Hart was named in the Hockey Canada scandal, leaving the young backup Ersson to be the team’s main netminder.

Ersson filled in admirably, given his inexperience. The backup options became a glaring concern as Cal Petersen and Felix Sandstrom struggled to relieve Ersson. That changed, however, when Ivan Fedotov was able to join the team from Russia at the end of March.

The Flyers’ GM praised Ersson, given the adversity he faced in his first full NHL season.

“After that, it was a really tough situation for him, to lose his partner and to have to play almost every other night. … I know down the stretch it got a little difficult and maybe he got overplayed, but overall it was an impressive season for a young goaltender.”

Daniel Briere 4/19/2024

Briere was asked how the Flyers viewed their goaltending situation heading into the offseason. He explained that unless anything changes, Ersson and Fedotov will be the netminders heading into the 2024-2025 season.

3. Prospect updates

Flyers' Matvei Michkov
Matvei Michkov adjust his Philadelphia Flyers hat after being picked by the team during the first round of the NHL hockey draft Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Briere was asked to explain his assessment of some of the Flyers prospects specifically Oliver Bonk and Denver Barkey. He stated that Bonk made big strides and surprised the front office with the offense that he brought this past season. Briere was impressed with Barkey, noting the fact that he scored 100 points at the junior level last season, but would like to see him “round out his overall game”.

The most coveted prospect the Flyers maintain is Matvei Michkov. The Flyers and their fans have been paying close attention to what he has been doing in the KHL. The team’s general manager was asked about any updates on their top prospect.

Michkov still has two years left on his deal in Russia, and Briere does not see him getting to the NHL any sooner than that, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

“Believe me, we keep watching him. We have heavy interest in what he does. He’s had a tremendous year. It was fun to see some of the highlights. But, at this time, I don’t hold too much hope that we’ll be able to get him out sooner.”

Daniel Briere 4/19/2024

The 19-year-old prospect accumulated 41 points (19g, 22a) in the KHL last season. It appears that the organization will have to be patient while he plays out the remainder of his contract in Russia.

The full video can be seen here. The overall tone of Briere’s media availability was positive and it should be. The new front office has a plan in place to get the Flyers back to being a perennial contender in the NHL. For fans, patience is key as Briere and company allow their vision to unfold.