Following his introductory press convention on Wednesday, Flyers basic supervisor Chuck Fletcher was headed off to Lehigh Valley to verify out his new group’s minor-league affiliate in motion, which might embrace a take a look at prime goalie prospect Carter Hart.
Presently, the Flyers have a multitude of a goalie state of affairs, with neither Brian Elliott or Michal Neuvirth seemingly capable of keep wholesome for any prolonged time period. In truth, they’ve already used 5 goalies this season, greater than they used all of final season.
None of these 5 goalies — Elliott, Neuvirth, Calvin Pickard, Anthony Stolarz, or Alex Lyon — appear to determine closely into the staff’s future, at the very least not in the best way Hart does. The Flyers’ trustworthy have been able to see the 20-year-old Canadian goaltender for a while now, and lots of had criticized Fletcher’s predecessor, Ron Hextall, for his endurance in bringing Hart alongside.
Sadly for these followers, Fletcher appears extra consistent with Hextall’s considering in terms of brining up a man that younger to be the beginning goalie — a minimum of for now. He did, nevertheless, very a lot depart the door open for Hart to hitch the large membership this season, and probably as early as subsequent month.
“Yeah, I don’t know if it could ever be a one size fits all,” Fletcher stated when requested about his philosophy on bringing up a younger goalie. “But I can’t remember of any twenty-year-old goalies that have played in the NHL. Luongo did a bit, even Brodeur played in the American league, Patrick Roy did, I remember Felix Potvin coming up as a highly touted prospect, he played a full year in Saint John’s so it’s a tough league. It’s a tough league to learn.
“Carter’s doing properly, he performed nice towards the Toronto Marlies final week and gained an enormous recreation for them. He’s getting into the appropriate course, he’s going to be, we hope, an excellent goaltender within the Nationwide Hockey League. However I actually consider goaltenders want seasoning, once more, whether or not meaning it is two months, 4 months, a yr, I wouldn’t need to deliver Carter Hart up proper now.
“That’s not to say in a month or two or three I wouldn’t, or next year. But he’ll tell us by his play, by the consistency of his play, when he’s ready.”
To listen to Fletcher inform it, it looks like the choice will not be one arbitrarily made prematurely by the group — like what Hue Jackson tried to do with Baker Mayfield earlier than getting fired by the Browns — however slightly a choice made based mostly on the best way Hart has been enjoying.
They are saying they need to see consistency, and that is precisely what they want. As a result of their goaltending has been something however constant this season.
MORE: Carter Hart needs his Flyers’ future to start now
Hart’s play will not be the one factor Fletcher shall be evaluating this season; he is even be preserving an in depth eye on his head coach, as he decides whether or not or to not convey Dave Hakstol again for an additional yr.
“I spent some time with Hak yesterday, and again this morning, talking about what we want to do for the upcoming road trip, the number of players we’re going to bring on the trip. He’ll get tired of me. I’m around after every game, I’m around every morning, I like to have coffee with the coaches and just get a sense of what they want to do each day. Again, I think you have to give people a chance to show how they’re going to work with you. It’s easy to have opinions on the outside, but I think when you’re talking about making a decision on the future of a coaching staff you better have a little bit more specific information than what I have right now.
“I would like it to work, I need to achieve success with this group. It’s not threats or something, but when we don’t have the options in-house, we’ll look outdoors. There’s no schedule for any of that, aside from we’re simply making an attempt to get higher. We need to make the playoffs this yr. We need to win a Stanley Cup as quickly as we will. Each choice we make can be in the direction of that aim, however proper now we’re simply, for me, we’re simply beginning.”
Fletcher was requested about rather more than that on Wednesday. This is extra from his first back-and-forth with the Philly media:
On what made the job interesting…
Chuck Fletcher: Properly, it’s an iconic model, historic franchise. Might use loads of totally different phrases. I imply, you take a look at the unique six groups within the NHL, clearly there a very long time and you set Philadelphia proper with them. It’s only a super market, super franchise, nice historical past, Stanley Cup championship historical past. Then whenever you dig in deeper, I definitely need to acknowledge the job that Ron Hextall did. The cabinet is full, there are an incredible quantity of prospects. This yr we have now 9 draft picks, we’ve got an additional third and an additional seventh. We now have cap area and we now have good gamers. Past that, it’s a terrific group with a whole lot of nice those that I’ve been assembly with within the final two days. There’s the whole lot right here to achieve success and that’s our objective and that’s what we’re going to do. It’s set up for fulfillment. The historical past. The town. I referred to as it a dream job the opposite day and it really is.
On how he compares philosophically to Hextall…
Fletcher: Perhaps someone else must make that, I’ve by no means labored for Ron or with Ron. I’ve plenty of respect for him. Definitely, handled him through the years scouting. We each wish to scout. We’ve each been in rinks through the years since he was in Philadelphia. Spoke to him on a regular basis, however with all due respect, I don’t assume I can reply that since I haven’t work with him.
How he describes himself philosophically…
Fletcher: Nicely, once more I feel it’s…the NHL and the cap system nowadays, it’s a must to construct your staff via the draft. That needs to be the core of your staff, there’s no different strategy to do it. All of us can’t go out and purchase twenty gamers. It needs to be constructed via the draft and hopefully that homegrown expertise believes in your id, believes in your tradition and in addition to bringing expertise they bring about these intangibles to the rink daily. And as you construct up that base of expertise, then you definitely begin to look outdoors to seek out out how one can complement and praise these gamers wherever you are feeling there’s gaps and holes. I’m an enormous believer, you want all three phases to construct a championship staff, once more primarily the draft, however you even have to make use of trades and free company. It’s a must to have good individuals, everyone needs to be pulling the identical method. I do assume tradition is essential in any group to achieve success. Hopefully you’ve got good well being and you will get a bounce or two alongside the best way, however construct an excellent staff and be consistency good for a very long time.
On why he thinks the Flyers have struggled this yr…
Fletcher: I’m simply kind of stepping into that now. Clearly, I made a pair feedback the opposite night time, we’ve used 5 goaltenders this yr in twenty-five video games and that’s not all efficiency associated, there’s been accidents. There’s been some robust breaks, there have been a couple of efficiency points, so clearly there’s been some instability in objective. I feel if we will get some guys wholesome, maybe that might be an antidote to that, the place we will get that consistency again. It’s a small pattern measurement, typically that’s not what individuals what to listen to, however twenty-five recreation isn’t even a 3rd of the season. We now have a variety of runway left right here. We now have a chance, this group, these coaches, these gamers, all these employees members, all of us have a gaggle to discover a strategy to push and make the playoffs. That needs to be our objective. We’re proper there, we’re a number of factors again, however we’re as robust as any of the groups proper round us. Hopefully we will discover a approach to develop into an excellent staff because the season strikes on.
On how this compares to his time in Minnesota…
Fletcher: You recognize, there are totally different conditions. Once more, I must say that I’ll get to know the prospects slightly bit higher, however I’ve watched most of them play, in all probability not all of them, however through the years. When you get in-house, you get an opportunity to satisfy them and get to know their character, their medical historical past, their character and the way they work together with their teammates, you possibly can type a greater opinion. However, this is as deep a prospect group as I’ve seen. There’s plenty of good items there and once more, there’s good gamers right here. I feel that this is a really favorable state of affairs to stroll into and Ron labored onerous to construct it. Ron and the employees. I’ve been very impressed with the employees that I’ve met thus far, haven’t had an opportunity to satisfy with the novice scouts. I do know lots of them personally, I’ve labored with a few them earlier than. The professional scouts are in, spent lots of time with them. I’m attending to know a few of the improvement individuals. I’m going to Lehigh Valley tonight. It’s a robust, robust basis of expertise, each gamers and employees. It’s exhausting for me to match, somewhat in some methods, however once more, I’m very lucky to stroll into this.
On how lifelike it’s that he’d make main personnel modifications within the short-term…
Fletcher: Brief-term might be outlined alternative ways. Definitely, I’m not making a commerce today- properly I don’t find out about in the present day or tomorrow, however I can’t think about I’d make one within the subsequent couple days. Subsequent week we get on the street, we undergo Western Canada. Inside about ten days I’ll have watched the staff 5 or 6 occasions. I’ve watched them a couple of occasions stay this yr once I was working with New Jersey. I consider I can get up to hurry fairly shortly. Extra importantly, there’s a terrific group of individuals surrounding me. Scouts, folks that know the sport. There’s an awesome useful resource clearly in Paul Holmgren. I spoke to Bob Clarke final night time, my first boss, a long-time mentor. He watches each recreation. Dean Lombardi, very shiny males. All three of those males have been common managers with extra expertise than me, so there’s lots of people I can lean on. Scouts, entrance workplace individuals, Barry Hanrahan. There’s lots of people that I make the most of.
Once I make the choice, I make the choice as a result of someone has to tug the set off, however it’s with numerous inputs that go into the choice making, lots of people which have an opinion. I’ve made selections earlier than, the place originally, I didn’t even agree with what we have been going to do. However, you recognize you take heed to individuals, you belief your individuals. I do have a reasonably good belief already with most of the people who work right here. Sorry for the long-winded reply, however the first order of enterprise is to search for in-house options, I feel it’s a must to give individuals an opportunity. Gamers, employees, everyone. If we will get this factor going the best course, perhaps we don’t should go out and be aggressive. However, if issues aren’t working or we’re not getting traction, then I feel you must take a look at each angle.
On Hextall’s current contract discussions with brokers over Wayne Simmonds and Ivan Provorov and whether or not or not he’ll should put that on again burner whereas he will get settled in…
Fletcher: Yeah, fortuitously I do know their representatives very nicely. Bob Clarke let me do my first contract in 1993, and in over the 25 plus seasons, I don’t even know what number of I’ve finished. Barry does loads of the contracts right here in order that’s an awesome useful resource I can lean on as nicely. We’ll work collectively, I do know he’s put information collectively. He’s ready, he’s checked out what the market is, for not simply these two, however any of the opposite free brokers that we’ve got. Clearly, I want to get to know these gamers and get to speak to them, and see the place they’re at, see how issues match right here and the way individuals work together. I undoubtedly plan to succeed in out to the brokers in a short time, simply a minimum of to say whats up, and get a way of what’s happening from their perspective and take heed to them. When the time is true we’ll get to the contract, however definitely there might be a variety of work beginning immediately when it comes to, attending to know the file, attending to know the person, speaking with the agent, and who is aware of when there’s a match. However we’ll maintain pushing.
On what previous GM mistake he is made and discovered from…
Fletcher: Nicely completely. My first season in Minnesota we have been on the lookout for a veteran defenseman to return in. We have been additionally trying to dump just a little payroll, so I got here up with this sensible concept of buying and selling Nick Leddy to the Chicago Blackhawks. He had been our first spherical decide the yr earlier than. We picked up a veteran defenseman in Cam Barker who had 40 factors the yr earlier than. We have been capable of off load one other participant and avoid wasting cash, so it was a genius concept. I obtained underneath price range, I added a veteran D, and I traded away a younger defenseman which will by no means play. How’s Nick Leddy doing? So, however what I discovered about that was there wasn’t a course of. And by that, we’ve advanced much more. I feel there are specific inputs you need to take a look at when making a decision. I used to be type of only a gun slinger, and once more, not each commerce they make now works out. Typically you’ll be able to have a course of and make a very good choice in lots of methods, however it simply doesn’t work out. Typically you get fortunate the opposite method, you’re not ready, and any person falls in your lap. There’s no course of there, made a horrible choice. I noticed Nick afterward and stated sorry about that, he stated, you traded me to Chicago it labored out okay. However, ya know, you study from these issues. And once more, not each determination turns out nevertheless it’s a course of for those who go about issues the suitable approach.
On balancing his win-now mandate with defending his belongings (prospects) and preserving the longer term…
Fletcher: I’m undoubtedly going to have the facility to hopefully not make dangerous trades. However you already know, Dave and Paul have been clear within the interview course of that there are not any calls for about having to do A, B, or C. We talked concerning the course of and we expect, all three of us consider, that this is a playoff workforce, a top quality workforce. We now have to push it and get higher instantly. However there’s additionally the long run. You’re making an attempt to win within the current, you’re making an attempt to win in the long run. There’s clearly sure belongings you’re not going to sacrifice to win three additional video games in a single season. So, I feel it’s a must to be prudent about it, however they’ve given me full autonomy to make the hockey selections I see match. We talked about philosophy, and once more, all of us agree this is an effective hockey staff. We now have to get higher, we’ve some issues to enhance upon. I feel hiring Rick Wilson during the last two days is a small step in the appropriate path. Rick brings rather a lot to the desk. We now have another points we have to resolve and we’re beginning that proper now.
On what particular positions must be labored on…
Fletcher: Properly the one remark I’ve made is we’ve given up too many objectives this yr. There have been a pair video games which have gotten away from us, that may pad the totals whenever you’ve solely performed 25 video games. I feel taking a look at a few of the metrics, the standard of photographs we’re giving up is definitely not dangerous. However we’re giving up too many objectives, and that’s not all on the goaltenders, it takes everyone on the ice to provide up a aim. I feel we have to take a look at a strategy to scale back objectives, once more that’s in the beginning, not a loopy assertion to make. You often must be within the prime half of the league in objectives towards to make the playoffs and that’s what we’re going to take a look at. I’m going to order judgement on particular gamers, once more I feel there’s plenty of good gamers right here and a few gamers which are within the prime of their careers which are shifting an extended and having good years. And there’s some younger gamers who’re, like all younger gamers, may be inconsistent from recreation to recreation however are moving into the best course. I’ll spend a while, get to know these guys after which I’ll in all probability be in a greater place to reply that query afterward.
Comply with Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
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