Part of the blessing and curse to having experienced assistant coaches is that those coaches don't always stay assistants for long. Typically, they want to get in or return to the head coaching game.
When the Flyers hired Mike Yeo and Michel Therrien as assistant coaches in May 2019, they brought on 1,296 games of NHL head coaching experience. It worked out well for the Flyers in 2019-20 and there aren't many reasons to think it shouldn't continue to work out well moving forward.
One reason would be a departure for a promotion.
With each NHL season and offseason, head coaching positions open. In 2021-22, the Seattle Kraken will join the NHL as an expansion team, creating another opening behind the bench.
In the latest PHT Power Rankings on NBCSports.com, Adam Gretz gave his 10 possible candidates for the Kraken's inaugural job. Rounding out the list were Yeo and former Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol.
Yeo is destined to be a head coach again at the NHL level. He's only 47 years old, took the Wild and Blues to the playoffs in his previous gigs and has a Stanley Cup championship ring from his days as an assistant with the Penguins. Yeo oversees the Flyers' defensemen and penalty kill. In 2019-20, the club's blueliners scored 44 goals, tied for second most in the NHL, while the penalty kill finished 11th among the league at 81.8 percent. Over the previous five seasons combined, the Flyers' PK ranked 30th at 78.4 percent.
"If something doesn’t go well during the game, he stays calm and makes the right decisions," Ivan Provorov said about Yeo in July. "When we need to adjust something, he does that right away. But when things are going well, he lets us play and lets us do our thing. I think this has been a great change so far. He just lets us play to our strengths also, play aggressive, move the puck, skate with the puck, so I think he’s done a great job and it’s been really helping us."
As far as Yeo being a serious candidate for the Seattle job, it's unknown if he has been or will be considered by the Kraken. It's also unknown what his level of interest is or would be in the Seattle position. Yeo seems to be more of a long shot in this circumstance but his name should continue to pop up for head coaching vacancies over the next few seasons. Obviously, the Flyers won't want to lose him; he has previous ties to Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher, who brought him on board in Philly. But Fletcher, head coach Alain Vigneault and the Flyers understand how the business works.
Hakstol, currently an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs, is likely a long shot, as well, for the Kraken opening. He will be a popular candidate for head coaching jobs at the collegiate ranks while he continues his work at the NHL level.