Flyers

Flyers general manager search: Chuck Fletcher the front-runner

Flyers general manager search: Chuck Fletcher the front-runner

Chuck Fletcher will be among the first candidates Paul Holmgren interviews for the Flyers' vacant general managerial position. 

NBC Sports Philadelphia confirmed a TSN report that Fletcher is indeed the front-runner for the position.

The Devils granted the Flyers permission to interview Fletcher, who is currently in a senior advisory role to the general manager/hockey operations.

The Montreal-born Fletcher spent nine seasons as GM of the Wild from 2009-2018. The team qualified for the playoffs for six consecutive seasons during Fletcher’s tenure but never made it out of the second round.

Fletcher’s signature move come in 2012 when he signed defenseman Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to identical 13-year, $98 million contracts. The Flyers were actively pursuing both players as well.  

Why Fletcher's a fit

The Parise-Suter signings are proof he’s willing to spend big on free agents. 

Unlike the Flyers, Fletcher has had stability in net with Niklas Backstrom (2006-2015) and acquiring Devan Dubnyk, who’s been Minnesota’s No. 1 since 2014, from the Oilers for just a third-round pick. 

The Wild produced 100-point seasons in three of Fletcher’s last four years in Minnesota.

Why Fletcher's not a fit

Fletcher hasn’t drafted an impact player still on the active roster since Matt Dumba in 2012.

He lost key valuable forwards Alex Tuch and Erik Haula to Vegas during the expansion draft that stripped the Wild of their depth.

Fletcher engineered a number of trades that haven’t worked out in his favor, including sending defenseman Nick Leddy to Chicago for Cam Barker in 2010. Overspent and overpaid too much for forward Jason Pominville. 

What they're saying

A few hockey insiders believe Fletcher, with his reputation, is the prime candidate the Flyers need in the GM role and someone who’s capable of securing a head coach like Joel Quenneville if/when the Flyers decide to make that move.

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2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

BOX SCORE

Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Today, we break down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. On Sunday, we’ll look at the reasons for concern.

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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