Former Flyers captain hired as club announces staffing changes


Ian Laperriere has his assistants in Allentown.

Among various organizational staff announcements Monday, the Flyers named Jason Smith and Riley Armstrong the two new assistant coaches at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Laperriere, who was named head coach of the Phantoms in June, said he was eyeing a younger staff with hands-on ability and pro experience.

"We spent an awful lot of time this summer looking at our staff, our structure and I think we've made some really meaningful changes and improvements to how we do things, not just from a coaching standpoint, but from a development standpoint, a scouting standpoint and a data standpoint," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last month. "We put a lot of time and effort this summer into fixing some things off the ice that we think will lead to better on-ice results.

"We've looked at everything. Last year was unacceptable. It's been a busy offseason behind the scenes and I'm really happy with some of the moves we've made. Now we have to find a way to get better on the ice and that'll be the focus from here on out."

Smith was the captain of the Flyers in 2007-08 and had the nickname "Gator." The 46-year-old former defenseman played 1,008 games in his NHL career and 27 at the AHL level. He has been an NHL assistant coach with the Senators and was most recently at the junior level in the WHL as an associate coach with the Prince George Cougars after serving the Kelowna Rockets as their head coach.


Armstrong, a 36-year-old who was a forward during his playing days, compiled 404 career AHL games. He played a pair of games for the Sharks during 2008-09 and also had pro stints in Finland, Sweden, Russia and Germany. Armstrong has coaching experience at the ECHL level, where he's been an assistant coach, head coach and assistant general manager. He was with the Maine Mariners over the last three seasons under Danny Briere, who works in the club's front office.

In other organizational staffing matters, the big club added Mike O’Connell as senior advisor to the general manager and player development, Nick Beverley to its pro scouting staff, Matt Bardsley to its amateur scouting staff and DeRick O’Connell as its assistant strength and conditioning coach.

The club made in-house promotions by elevating amateur scout Joakim Grundberg to director of European scouting, assistant strength and conditioning coach Dan Warnke to the head role and lead developer in the analytics department Jacob Hurlbut to assistant director of analytics.

Chris Osmond, the club's previous head of strength and conditioning, has remained on staff in strength and conditioning.

The Flyers recently lost amateur scout Nick Pryor and player development coach Brett Hextall to the Penguins. Pryor was hired as Pittsburgh's director of amateur scouting and Hextall is in his same role with the Penguins.

On the Phantoms' staff, Jacob Rogers was hired as the team's new assistant equipment manager.

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