The Philadelphia Flyers have hired Alain Vigneault as their new head coach, signing him to a multi-year contract. Vigneault is currently set to coach Team Canada at the upcoming IIHF World Championship but will be behind the bench for the Flyers in 2019-20. GM Chuck Fletcher released a statement about the hiring:
We are extremely excited to have Alain join this franchise and lead our team behind the bench for many years to come. He brings a tremendous amount of success over an extended period of time that will prove valuable to our team to take the next steps in returning the winning culture to the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that Vigneault’s deal is worth $25MM over five years, making him one of the more expensive head coaches in the league. That may seem like a big commitment given Vigneault didn’t coach anywhere this season after being fired by the New York Rangers last year, but he does have an extensive resume of success. The 57-year old coach comes to Philadelphia with a career 648-435-35-98 regular season record which puts him 12th all-time in terms of wins. He was awarded the Jack Adams trophy as the league’s top bench boss in 2007, but unfortunately has failed to carry much of that success over to the postseason.
Vigneault actually has a losing record in 139 career playoff games and was defeated both times his team reached the Stanley Cup Final. Still, he should bring some stability to an organization that has used four coaches since the beginning of the 2013-14 season and failed to reach the playoffs in four of the past seven years. Scott Gordon, who took over after the team decided to fire Dave Hakstol earlier this season, ended up with a 25-22-4 record but will not be retained as the team’s head coach.
The Flyers are not in the process of a rebuild despite their solid farm system, and expect to compete for the playoffs again next season. Captain Claude Giroux is now 31 and has just three years remaining on his current contract, while other players like Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk are also closing in on their thirties. With young Carter Hart expected to take over the full-time starting goaltending duties and other young prospects ready to make the jump to the NHL, the time is now for the Flyers to contend. The hiring of Vigneault is just another sign that they’re willing to spend to get there, though only time will tell if he can finally take that next step and lead his team to a championship.