Back in April, Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault talked about the attractiveness of the Flyers, how Philadelphia was a desirable market in the NHL.
The general manager and head coach came to the organization as outsiders.
Fletcher called the team's GM position "a premium job in the National Hockey League."
"I know when Paul Holmgren approached me about being the general manager of the Flyers, I'm like, 'Wow,'" Fletcher said.
"We're set up where we should have an opportunity to get better quickly."
Vigneault, tabbed as the Flyers' head coach in mid-April, had success at three previous stops. With his résumé and age, he didn't have to jump on any opportunity. He knew the Flyers' reputation and liked the entire package, from the roster's blend of experience and youth to the club's cap space and accessible avenues to improve.
"In today's game, you've got to make sure the environment that you're creating is — I don't want to say pro-player, but it can incite players to choose Philly as a destination because they'll get the best development, they'll get the best coaching, whether it be strength, psychological coaches, etc.," Vigneault said. "You need total commitment from ownership and there's no doubt that we have that here."
Those beliefs are now being put to the test this offseason as Fletcher, Vigneault and the Flyers try to convince others of their plans to compete. It all starts with Kevin Hayes, a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent the Flyers acquired in a trade last week. Fletcher on Monday said the Flyers and Hayes were "hoping to get together here in the near future." According to reports by 97.5 The Fanatic's Jason Myrtetus and TSN's Frank Seravalli, Hayes has had his visit to Philadelphia.
The Flyers, as we've noted, are in a good spot. They're currently presenting all they have to offer before other teams can start doing so June 23 with impending UFAs. Hayes, a Northeast guy, played his first four NHL seasons under Vigneault in New York.
"I think he's a guy who's familiar with our coach and our coach is familiar with him," Fletcher said. "If he signs, that will help. There shouldn't be any learning curve. He should be able to step in seamlessly if we're able to sign him."
Hayes also knows the interest of the Flyers, who "have more cap space than most teams," as Fletcher said Monday. As Seravalli wrote, money will certainly talk, just as much as the Flyers' brand. Hayes, 27, made $5.175 million last season on a one-year deal. Coming off a career-high 25 goals in 2017-18 and a career-high 55 points this season, the forward could receive a deal in the five-to-six-year range and you'd expect he'd want a raise from his previous $5.175 million AAV.
"Next week is the week of the draft," Fletcher said Monday. "This will be an important week. I will certainly have more time to meet with him face to face."
And convince him the Flyers are where he should want to be. Winning Hayes over before he has the chance to test the market was always going to be a challenge.
At least the Flyers had first dibs at wooing him. We'll have to wait and see if it worked. The attractiveness of the Flyers is definitely being put to the test.
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