The Philadelphia Flyers announced changes to the staff of their hockey operations department today, confirming the promotions of three people as well as the departures of three more.
Per the announcement, Alyn McCauley has been promoted to assistant general manager under new general manager Daniel Briere, while Riley Armstrong has been promoted to the position of director of player development and 1069-game NHL veteran Nick Schultz has been promoted to assistant director of player development.
Briere issued the following statement regarding these promotions:
I’m excited to announce the promotions of Alyn, Riley and Nick. These three have been around the organization for some time, in particularly, with our current prospects and young players, so I know they will each provide the direction and leadership that is necessary to get our future assets to the NHL level.
McCauley, 46, has nearly 500 NHL games on his resume from his days as a player and is entering his seventh season with the Flyers’ organization. He served as the team’s director of player personnel since February 2022 and in his new role he will oversee the Flyers pro scouting department, player personnel, and AHL Lehigh Valley’s hockey operations staff.
Armstrong, 38, was a longtime minor leaguer who is now entering his third season with the Flyers. For the past two seasons he served as an assistant coach with AHL Lehigh Valley, and before that point was the head coach for the ECHL’s Maine Mariners. Maine is where Armstrong has his strongest connection with Briere, as Briere was appointed in 2017 to run the Mariners’ day-to-day operations in what was his first major role as a hockey operations executive.
In Armstrong’s new role he will, as the Flyers put it, be “responsible for developing Flyers prospects and helping all the young players grow into the professional game as they develop in the AHL with Lehigh Valley.”
Flyers fans are likely to remember Schultz, 40, as he spent the last three years of his long playing career in Philadelphia. The former physical blueliner is entering his fifth season with the Flyers, and has previously served as a player development coach. Now, he’ll work directly with Armstrong in a more senior role within the team’s player development infrastructure.
Also as part of the team’s announcement, the Flyers confirmed that Mike O’Connell, John Riley, and Kjell Samuelsson have been relieved of their duties. O’Connell was in a senior advisory role with the team while Riley and Samuelsson were longtime members of the Flyers’ organization who had been working as player development coaches.
These moves signal an increased focus from the Flyers organization on player development in the early days of their new front office’s tenure. The team has begun to embrace the notion of more slowly building and developing a contending team and seems likely to prefer the draft-and-develop route over attempting to find quick-fix roster solutions, the approach that often had disastrous consequences under Flyers’ former general manager, Chuck Fletcher.
The creation of a strong player development pipeline has significantly aided the efforts of recent Stanley Cup champions, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, so it seems the Flyers are looking to build a similarly productive development system and are now turning to some fresh faces to manage that pursuit.