Sunday: Despite the Flyers falling 5-1 to Vancouver Saturday and the road trip being completed, there has been no coaching changes made of yet, according to Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi. The scribe writes that while a coaching change MAY happen at some point, rumors that the team has hired Joel Quenneville are not accurate. Hakstol remains the coach in Philadelphia.
Saturday: While it likely wouldn’t come as any surprise, they Philadelphia Flyers may be ready to make a coaching change. The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor tweeted that he’s heard rumblings from key people that the Flyers may be ready to fire head coach Dave Hakstol after their road trip ends, which will be tonight after their game against Vancouver.
While Hakstol had an impressive coaching resume when he was hired back in 2015, that success hasn’t necessarily translated to the NHL. While he’s reached the playoffs twice on a rebuilding roster, the team has failed to get past the first round of the playoffs and the team has been abysmal in a season where many people felt the team was ready to compete for the top of their division. Instead, the Flyers have struggled this season, currently holding a record of 12-14-4, tied for last place in the Metropolitan Division.
The team’s struggles already cost the job of general manager Ron Hextall back on Nov. 26 and replaced soon after with new GM Chuck Fletcher, whose intention was to sit back and observe the team before making any changes. Hakstol’s chances are likely near an end, however, after the team’s recent losing streak as they have gone 3-7-3 in the last 13 games. That has included a recent string of tough losses, which started with a 7-1 loss to Winnipeg last Sunday, followed by a 6-5 overtime loss to Calgary in which the Flyers held a two-goal lead with 68 seconds left in the game and still lost. The team followed that up with a 4-1 loss Friday to Edmonton.
While the team seems to be waiting until after the road trip, that’s not too unusual. The Los Angeles Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Nov. 4 after the team pulled off a 4-1 victory over Columbus the day before, suggesting the team had already made up their mind about firing Stevens. The same could happen here. The Flyers are a team loaded with a core of top forwards, including Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, James van Riemsdyk, Wayne Simmonds as well as top defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, but haven’t been able to put anything together. The team’s goaltending situation is a mess and likely to be one of Fletcher’s first acts as GM, to find a reliable netminder. Regardless, the team doesn’t seem to be responding to Hakstol at the moment.