Reggie Lemelin has been fired as the Flyers' goaltending coach, general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed Thursday.
The easy-going Lemelin, 54, who was stunned by the decision, was the Flyers' goalie coach for 14 seasons.
"I just felt we needed a change," Holmgren said.in Montreal, where he is preparing for Friday's first round of the NHL draft
Flyers goalie Marty Biron was inconsistent during the last two regular seasons _ and perhaps that influenced Holmgren's decision. The Flyers were 16th in the NHL last season with a 2.83 goals-against average, just ahead of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins (2.84).
A club source said the Flyers are expected to hire Tampa Bay goalie coach Jeff Reese, 43, as Lemelin's successor.
Lemelin said he saw Holmgren talking with Reese during a Flyers game in Tampa last season "so maybe it's not something that just came up."
Lemelin, who won 236 games during a 15-year NHL career, was baffled by his dismissal. He said he “tried to dig a little deeper” into the reasons for the firing, “but never got any answer. He (Holmgren) said you’ve been here a long time and he needed to do something different, something new.”
Speaking via telephone from his Massachusetts home, Lemelin said: “They never gave any indication I was doing a bad job. I was pretty much on my own and everything seemed fine. I got along with my goalies very well and got along great with the other coaches. This came out of the blue a little.
“I don’t know if my age was a factor, but I thought I related very well” with the goalies.
Holmgren said Lemelin didn't disagree with the Flyers' decision to bring in controversial goalie Ray Emery. He said the goalie change had “nothing to do” with the coaching switch.
The GM didn't want to elaborate on the decision.