Flyers fire Alain Vigneault
In news that wasn't really shocking to anyone at all, the Flyers have fired Alain Vigneault of coaching duties along with assistant coach Michel Therrien. Right on the heels of a 7-1 drubbing by the Tampa Bay Lightning, GM Chuck Fletcher had no choice but to pull the trigger. Removing Therrien would have been good enough for me but the players overall performance over this 8 game losing streak was enough for Fletcher. Assistant Mike Yeo now stands as the interim coach. Vigneault lead the Flyers to an 8-10-4 record this season. The Flyers have had a pretty rough schedule to start this season and have been wracked with injuries but really those are just excuses you can put at the feet of any team. AV leaves the Flyers with an overall 147-74-54 record and never got to coach a full 82 games. The Flyers jumped out to the number 1 seed in Eastern Conference when the NHL restarted in the bubble for the 2019-2020 season and have skidded backwards ever since. The 2020-2021 season gave Vigneault 56 games and the Flyers finished 6th in the MassMutual East 25-23-8 missing the postseason.
The coaching staff went to Fletcher with a shopping list of the types of players they wanted and suggestions on who they needed to move on from. It was a busy offseason for Cliff Fletcher adding Cam Atkinson from Columbus for Jakub Voracek, Ryan Ellis (D) from Nashville for Philippee Meyers (D) and Nolan Patrick (F). Popular but embattled defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere(D), a 2022 2nd round pick and a 2022 7th round pick was sent to Arizona for cap relief. Rasmus Ristolainen(D) was brought in from Buffalo for Robert Hagg, a 2021 First Round and a 2023 Second round pick. Derek Brassard (F) and Keith Yandle (D) signed one year deals. Fletcher turned over roughly 45% of the roster and Vigneault was ready to get a full 82 game season in. What isn't lost in all of this is the firing of Therrin who was running the teams powerplay. Running is a word I'll use loosely here because the Flyers have scored 9 power play goals in 67 chances for a 13.4% rating good for 30th out of 32 teams. Overall they are 29th in the league in scoring out of 32 teams.
The Flyers haven't won a game now since a 2-1 OT win against the Flames on November 16th. They haven't lost 10 in a row since 2018-2019, they had a 10 game losing streak once before that in 2007-2008. The franchise all time winless streak sits at 12 set back in 1999. They now play 5 games in 7 nights starting last night at home against Tampa, Tonight at home against Colorado, Wednesday at the Devils, Friday in Las Vegas and Saturday in Arizona. It's very possible the way this team is playing they could be at 11 losses in a row going into the Arizona game.
Mike Yeo becomes the 6th head coach since the start of the 2013-2014 season. Mike has had stints in Minnesota starting in 2011 and was fired midway through the 2015-2016 season after going 1-11-2 in his final 14 games behind the bench as a head coach under GM Chuck Fletcher, and as an assistant in St Louis, taking over for Ken Hitchcock midway through the 2016-2017 season. He was fired from the Blues in 2018-2019 and replaced by Craig Berube who won the Stanley Cup. Overall Mike Yeo has a 246-181-55 record and has been to the postseason several times but never winning the cup. I personally do not think he's the full time answer and the Flyers will end up looking toward popular candidates John Tortorella or Rick Tocchet. We'll talk about that another time!