Flyers hire Michel Therrien, Mike Yeo as assistant coaches

Flyers hire Michel Therrien, Mike Yeo as assistant coaches

Alain Vigneault has his coaching staff.

The Flyers on Monday announced the club's coaches for the 2019-20 season and a handful of things stand out.

It's clear general manager Chuck Fletcher, Vigneault and the Flyers wanted to bring on some experience. They hired Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo as new assistant coaches. Therrien has 814 games of NHL head coaching experience, while Yeo owns 482 and was the bench boss for parts of five seasons with the Wild under Fletcher.

Therrien and Yeo both have backgrounds with the Penguins. Therrien led Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, a season in which Yeo was his assistant. Therrien has 71 games of playoff experience between stints with the Penguins and Canadiens. So, between Vigneault and Therrien, that's three Stanley Cup Final appearances. Yeo was on Pittsburgh's staff when the Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup. His head coaching experience came under Fletcher in Minnesota and with the Blues. Overall, he owns 39 games of postseason experience.

Three coaches will be retained: Ian Laperriere, Kim Dillabaugh and Adam Patterson. Laperriere oversaw the Flyers' penalty kill but it's uncertain if he'll continue with those responsibilities. Dillabaugh is the Flyers' goaltending coach and Vigneault was impressed by his work with Carter Hart, while Patterson is the Flyers' video coach.

"I am excited to add Michel and Mike on our coaching staff to work alongside Ian Laperriere, Kim Dillabaugh and Adam Patterson," Vigneault said in a statement released by the Flyers. "Both men have enjoyed success at all levels throughout their coaching careers, including working together at the NHL level. Each brings a considerable amount of experience and knowledge to our group, which I have no doubt will help lead our team to immediate success."

While the Flyers' penalty kill has ranked in the bottom 10 of the NHL in each of the past five seasons under Laperriere, he relates well with the players and can be a help to the new assistants in understanding the roster.

Kris Knoblauch and Rick Wilson are not returning. Knoblauch, who was previously coaching in junior hockey, was brought on board during June 2017 and coached the Flyers' power play. Out of retirement, Rick Wilson joined the Flyers in December of this season and worked with the defensemen.

Scott Gordon has decided to stay in the organization. After serving as the Flyers' interim head coach from Dec. 17 to the end of the season, Gordon will return to his previous post as head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, which Fletcher said he more than earned. Kerry Huffman, who led the Phantoms when Gordon was summoned by the Flyers, will be an assistant in Lehigh Valley.

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5 observations from Flyers development camp: The Morgan Frost show, Cam York loves Gritty, more

5 observations from Flyers development camp: The Morgan Frost show, Cam York loves Gritty, more

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers development camp was in full swing Tuesday.

Let's get into five observations from Day 1 of the five-day camp:

1. That's cold

Morgan Frost, one of the organization's top prospects, picked on a practice player in net during an afternoon shooting drill. Frost buried three shots top shelf all in a row. He then chatted with the goalie afterward in a friendly manner.

The 20-year-old center rotated to the next station and delivered another clinic. There's a reason he recorded back-to-back 100-point seasons to finish off his junior hockey career. He puts the puck where he wants it to go.

Frost's speed and skill will be tested at the pro level. How quickly his game translates will be interesting to watch.

"I don't think I really need people that are telling me I can't do it at the next level to motivate me," Frost said. "It's motivating enough for yourself to try to be the best player you can be."

2. Mr. Playoffs Jr.

Seeing the name Briere on the back of a Flyers jersey is commonplace in the Delaware Valley.

Flyers fans are getting the chance to see it again on the ice.

Carson Briere, the son of beloved former Flyer Danny Briere, is a development camp invite. 

His father was on hand Tuesday and signed a few autographs early in the morning as he entered the practice facility.

Briere caught up with assistant general manager Brent Flahr and took in much of the action, even watching the defensemen while his son was on the opposite ice with the forwards.

Carson, a 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward, had himself a heck of a season with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL, a Tier II junior league. The Arizona State commit scored 44 goals and 89 points in 59 regular-season games. 

3. 'Gritty's a beauty'

Philly is going to like Cam York.

The 2019 No. 14 overall pick has a smoothness to him, on and off the ice.

The 18-year-old defenseman also has bushy red hair. Some folks in the Twittersphere have likened him to Gritty.

"I saw a few things where they were comparing me to him," York said with a smile. "It's all good. Gritty's a beauty, so I take it as a compliment."

This kid gets it.

4. Yo, Yegor!

A defenseman to keep an eye on throughout the 2019-20 season — even training camp, actually — is Yegor Zamula.

He's really tall and long. His story and potential feel Philippe Myers-esque (see story).

His skating is impressive for a guy his size. He'll obviously have to get much stronger, but he's only 19 and the upside is evident.

5. Joel ready to roll

One-and-done Joel Farabee will be pushing for the Flyers' roster during training camp after a standout freshman season at Boston University and signing his entry-level contract in March.

Everyone is now facing the challenge of impressing a mostly new coaching staff and general manager Chuck Fletcher, who will be entering his first full season with the Flyers.

Farabee, a slender goal-scoring winger, is ready to embrace that challenge.

"I think it bodes well for me," Farabee said. "I can play a lot of different styles, a lot of different roles on a team, so I think that helps me. I'm really excited to meet the new coaching staff. I think all of those guys have had really successful careers so far, so it'll be interesting to talk to them and get feedback from them."

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Scott Gordon talks decision to return, Flyers' coaching staff and Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

Scott Gordon talks decision to return, Flyers' coaching staff and Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

VOORHEES, N.J. — Scott Gordon was back at Flyers Skate Zone as the team's annual development camp kicked off Tuesday. Following a morning session, Gordon made his way up to the media room wearing a long-sleeved Phantoms pullover.

He is head coach of the Phantoms again. In mid-April, he was told he would no longer be the Flyers' head coach after serving on an interim basis since Dec. 18. The Flyers hired Alain Vigneault as their new bench boss, creating a decision for Gordon following some disappointment of not landing the full-time gig with the big club.

How long did he mull over the opportunity to return as head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley?

"Not long," Gordon said.

"I kind of went into it with the expectation of that's where I was going to end up."

Gordon said he "didn't have any interest in being an assistant with the Flyers" and made that clear to Chuck Fletcher prior to the general manager's decision on the head coaching job. Gordon said there were "a couple of situations" regarding interest from other NHL teams, but no conversations about head coaching jobs.

Gordon was ready to be back in Lehigh Valley. After all, there's plenty of appeal to the Phantoms. Not only has Gordon had success in Lehigh Valley, but the Phantoms are also expecting a rush of young talent infusing their roster.

Names like Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Matthew Strome, Maxim Sushko, Felix Sandstrom and Kirill Ustimenko are all potentially joining the likes of Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, German Rubtsov and Mark Friedman, just to name a handful.

"Part of the thing that makes the job great down there is we do have some great prospects," Gordon said.

"It's something that has been building over time."

While Gordon would love to be leading the Flyers, he's impressed with the club's mostly new coaching staff and is excited to work with it. Vigneault, Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo all bring vast experience to the table. Vigneault has two Stanley Cup Final appearances on his résumé, Therrien owns one and Yeo hoisted the Cup in Pittsburgh as an assistant. Altogether, the trio has 2,512 games of NHL head coaching experience.

"All three of those guys have had levels of success in the NHL," Gordon said. "Pretty remarkable to have three quality coaches on one staff. It should be a good thing for the Flyers."

Gordon has also liked the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, specifically because of what the two accomplished blueliners can do for Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.

"As good as Provy and Ghost are, they're two veteran defensemen who have been in the league [only] three or four years," Gordon said. "Those guys, whether they end up playing together anymore or end up playing with Niskanen or Braun, they're playing with people that aren't cutting their teeth while they're still young in their careers. That's a huge thing for the team — guys that have been in the Stanley Cup Final, winning the Stanley Cup, that's huge for the development of the those guys." 

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