Photo Courtesy of Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports
As the weeks have gone by, the Philadelphia Flyers head coaching search still continues. It appears as though the coaching landscape is at a stand still until renowned coach Barry Trotz decides on which coaching opportunity to pursue.
Despite that being the case, it hasn’t stopped rumors from running rampant about potential candidates the Flyers might hire for their vacant coaching position. So far it’s been confirmed the Flyers have interviewed Barry Trotz, John Tortorella, Mike Velucci, Rick Tocchet, and David Quinn, Jeff Blashill and Peter DeBoer for the head coaching position.
At this point it’s also been reported by the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli that the Flyers have decided on their coaching finalists for the vacant position. Those would include, according to Seravalli, Barry Trotz and John Tortorella. Along with those Crossing Broad’s finalists, Anthony SanFilippo has indicated that Peter DeBoer is also among the Flyers coaching finalists. There possibly may be another finalist in the running for the open coaching position however this has yet to be fully confirmed.
In terms of the finalists, the Philadelphia Flyers management brass has narrowed down the list to some very qualified candidates.
Barry Trotz is a recent Stanley Cup winner and took the New York Islanders to the Eastern Conference finals twice in the past 3 seasons. Not to mention the veteran coach also implements structure and a defensively sound system. As well as, an emphasis on a counter attack approach.
Tortorella, also a former Stanley Cup winner in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, has an impressive coaching resume as well. The veteran coach in 20 seasons as a bench boss has brought his team’s to the playoffs 12 of those seasons. In those 12 playoff appearances he’s brought his team’s past the 1st round of the playoffs 5 of the 12 instances his team’s have qualified for the NHL playoffs.
What this cements is Tortorella’s dependability as a coach and the ability for him to achieve a level of success on a consistent basis. Even through coaching different teams and rosters Tortorella can get buy-in from his players and ensure that they perform to a level that demands success. This stems from his hard nosed coaching style and the willingness to go above and beyond to hold players accountable for their play no matter their role or position on the team. Another quality facet of Tortorella coaching style is that he also implements a defensive minded system and establishes a strong structure with his team’s in regards to all three zones of play. Ultimately, Tortorella would also be a good choice, along with Trotz for the vacant coaching position. Both coaches bring a level of structure, accountability and defensive minded play that the Flyers have been sorely lacking for the past few seasons.
That last rumored finalist mentioned Peter DeBoer also has an impressive coaching history. The fact he’s taken two different teams to the Stanley Cup Finals within the same decade in the New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks only solidifies his coaching acumen. It’s been argued that DeBoer is a coach who has a short shelf life in certain circumstances. However, in the modern day NHL more often than not a variety of coaches are usually let go after 2-4 seasons with a particular club. So such a notion is shortsighted to say the least.
DeBoer coached teams typically look to play a puck possession game. Particularly his systems stress an offensive aggressive forecheck in order to retrieve the puck when they do not have it. Once his team’s do have the puck playing a high pressure offensive game is essentially the goal. That includes having defenseman activate in cycles within the offensive zone. As a result, DeBoer would also be a quality candidate for the Flyers to hire. Due to the younger forwards on the team being suited to play this style of hockey.
When assessing the ideal coach for the Flyers to hire, there could certainly be a case made considering each candidate as a fit for the position. Looking at the options, if Barry Trotz decides he wants to coach the team the Flyers should definitely accept his request and allow him to do so. He’s shown an innate ability to get successful results from rosters that have been lacking talent in some key areas through both his tenures in Nashville and New York. Ensuring a coach with the tendency to get his players to over perform in their roles is hired could only benefit the Flyers moving forward. In the last few seasons some of their key players have underperformed at crucial points in the season. A savvy coach like Trotz who has usually gotten the most out of his players largely in part of his systems could allow these players to contribute further than they recently have been.
If Trotz is not available the next best option in this case would likely be John Tortorella. Simply this would be attributed to his efficiency in establishing a culture a team can buy into. Along with getting his team to play with an identity and structure within their game.
In all respects, no matter which of these 3 rumored finalists the Philadelphia Flyers franchise ends up hiring, they are all good coaches. They could all improve the team moving forward through the different strategies and styles of play they look to establish. Chuck Fletcher and his brass will attempt to add to the talent pool of this roster throughout the off-season in an effort to boost the Flyers chances of legitimately competing moving forward. While the front office also likely hopes their current roster players are able to execute their new coaches system in an efficient manner this upcoming season. It’s going to be quite an interesting off-season ahead and there should be an indication soon as to what the new direction and identity the Philadelphia Flyers are looking to shape may be. Filling the vacant head coaching position is only the first step in that process.
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