Quick Hits: June 26, 2022
1) On Friday's edition of Flyers Daily
, Jason Myretetus and I discussed, among other topics, the possibility of the Flyers hiring Andrew Brunette as an assistant coach under John Tortorella.
Brunette served as an assistant under Joel Quenneville for the Florida Panthers before taking over as interim head coach early in the 2021-22 season when Quenneville was forced to step down due to fallout from the Chicago Blackhawks scandal. As an assistant, Brunette coached the Panthers' power play and forwards. The Florida power play ranked 5th in the NHL during the regular season (24.4 percent) although it went dormant in the playoffs (1-for-32).
As interim head coach, Brunette was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award this season. After the Panthers won the President's Trophy in the regular reason but had a disappointing playoff run -- getting swept by Tampa in the second round after defeating Washington in six games -- Florida general manager Bill Zito elected not to tag the interim tag off Brunette's job title. Instead, the Panthers hired a much more experienced NHL head coach in Paul Maurice.
Brunette is still employed by the Panthers, but the organization will not stand in his way if he opts to seek an opportunity elsewhere. Assuming he is not hired for a head coaching job this offseason, there may be a fit with the Flyers as an assistant to Tortorella in charge of trying to turn around what was the NHL's lowest-ranked power play in 2021-22.
Brunette knows Chuck Fletcher well. Fletcher was the Wild's GM during part of Brunette's second playing stint in Minnesota. Later, it was Fletcher who hired Brunette for his first NHL assistant coaching gig with Minnesota in 2015-16 (where Mike Yeo and then John Torchetti ran the bench, and Rick Wilson was the assistant coach in charge of the defense).
At age 48, it's certainly not impossible for Brunette to get another NHL head coaching opportunity at some point. In the meantime, if hired by the Flyers, he could serve under the now 64-year-old Tortorella. That could be parlayed into a head coaching job, whether it's elsewhere or as Tortorella's eventual successor (he signed a four-year contract).
2) Congratulations go out to former Phantoms and Flyers goaltender Alex Lyon, as his Chicago Wolves team won the 2021-22 Calder Cup championship. Chicago closed out their final series with the Springfield Thunderbirds in five games. Lyon recorded a 28-save shutout in a 4-0 win on Saturday to win the championship in grand fashion. He shared starting duties in net during the playoffs, going 9-3 with a 2.03 GAA, .923 save percentage and two shutouts. Chicago is a Carolina Hurricanes affiliate.
3) Congratulations also got to former Flyers defenseman Luke Richardson for -- reportedly -- finally landing a long-elusive head coaching opportunity in the NHL after many years as an NHL assistant and AHL head coach who was a short-list candidate for NHL head coaching jobs but never got offered the job in the end. Richardson will steer the Chicago Blackhawks, who have yet to formally announce the hire as of this writing.
4) Today in Flyers History Part 1: On June 26, 2009, the Flyers acquired Chris Pronger from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for winger Joffrey Lupul, young defenseman Luca Sbisa, a 2009 first-round pick (John Moore) and a 2010 first-round pick (Emerson Etem).
5) Today in Flyers History Part 2: On June 26, 2015, amid the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, the Flyers trade up from the 29th to the 24th overall spot. The Flyers selected Ottawa 67s center/winger Travis Konecny. In return, the Flyers sent the first-round pick they'd acquired from Tampa Bay in the Braydon Coburn deal (which Toronto used on the selection of Gabriel Carlsson) plus the 61st overall pick, originally belonging to Chicago and traded to the Flyers in the Kimmo Timonen deal. Toronto used the latter pick on Jeremy Bracco.
6) June 26 Flyers Alum birthday: Brad Jones (1965).