ST. LOUIS – The Flyers’ search for a coach will not drag out into the summer, and it will be completed before the NHL draft starts on June 21.
“It will certainly be done well before the draft, but there’s no time frame,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said after the Flyers’ morning skate Thursday at the Enterprise Center.
The Flyers, in their final road game of the season, face the Blues Thursday at 8 p.m.
Fletcher said he will sit down with interim coach Scott Gordon, who is a candidate but doesn’t appear near the top of the list, after the season “and talk to him about moving forward and his plans. We’ve kind of been day to day for four months and I want to sit down and spend time with him.”
Fletcher praised the job Gordon has done.
Asked if he was looking for someone with a lot of experience, Fletcher said: “Just the right coach. Once we get to the end of the year, we’ll have an opportunity to sit down and collect all our thoughts. It’s just been a crazy couple months here.”
Joel Quenneville, who led Chicago to three Stanley Cups, is believed to be high on the Flyers’ wish list. It is also worth noting that Fletcher was a Penguins assistant GM and the man who hired Dan Bylsma to coach Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pittsburgh’s AHL farm team, in 2008. Bylsma later coached the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Mike Yeo, a Pittsburgh assistant that season, also has connections with Fletcher.
When Fletcher was the Minnesota GM, he hired Yeo as his head coach and fired him five years later. Yeo was dismissed by the Blues earlier this season and is a dark-horse Flyers candidate.
As for this season, Fletcher, who replaced the fired Ron Hextall on Dec. 3, called it disappointing to miss the playoffs and said the year was too inconsistent.
“But yet I’d also use the term promising. We got a lot of good things from a lot of young players who have improved," he said. “It’s a mixed bag, which is what you’d expect when you don’t make the playoffs. Certainly we’re going to have to find a way to be in a much better position next year.”
The Flyers will have lots of cap space and they are expected to be active in the trade and free-agent markets.