The changes continue for the Philadelphia Flyers, as the team announced today that assistant GM Chris Pryor and assistant coach Gord Murphy have both been fired. Pryor had been promoted to his current position by recently fired GM Ron Hextall in 2016, while Murphy was hired by Hextall in 2014. Team president Paul Holmgren released a statement on the changes:
The Flyers organization has relieved Chris Pryor of his duties as Director of Player Personnel and Assistant General Manager. In addition, in close consultation with Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol, Gord Murphy has been relieved of his duties as assistant coach. I would like to thank Chris for his dedication to the franchise and contributions over the last 20 years. Likewise, we thank Gord Murphy for serving behind the bench for the last five seasons and helping grow and develop our young core of defensemen. We do not anticipate any further personnel moves in the near term.
The fact that the team parted with Pryor is a legitimate surprise, given that he’d been with the club in various roles for two decades and was a huge part of their drafting and development programs. The Flyers have seemingly done quite well in the draft over the last few years, adding names like Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny, Carter Hart, Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe. This past June their draft was lauded by many as the team added Joel Farabee, Jay O’Brien and Adam Ginning in the top 50 picks, leading their prospect pipeline to be ranked among the league’s best.
While it’s not clear why exactly these two were let go while Hakstol and others were retained, it certainly had an effect on the team. Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweeted that the Flyers locker room was “stunned” by the firing of Murphy, while many other media members expressed shock that Pryor was the one removed from the front office. There are likely more changes coming down the road for Philadelphia, but could be intending on hiring a new GM first. Chuck Fletcher, formerly GM of the Minnesota Wild, appears to be the front runner at this point according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic.