Flyers

Former Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol hired by Maple Leafs as assistant coach

Former Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol hired by Maple Leafs as assistant coach

VOORHEES, N.J. — Dave Hakstol is back in the NHL.

The former Flyers head coach was hired by the Maple Leafs on Saturday as an assistant coach. Hakstol's new job comes six and a half months after he was fired by the Flyers.

Hakstol will work under accomplished head coach Mike Babcock.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to join the Maple Leafs coaching staff," Hakstol said, via the Maple Leafs' official team website. "I look forward to building relationships with the players and getting to work with the entire group."

Toronto, loaded with talent, is coming off back-to-back seasons of 100 or more points but consecutive first-round playoff exits. The Maple Leafs feature plenty of youth in Auston Matthews (21 years old), Mitch Marner (if he's back; 22), Kasperi Kapanen (22), William Nylander (23) and Andreas Johnsson (24), to name a handful of guys.

Hakstol came to the Flyers fresh out of the college ranks from North Dakota. He was regarded as a coach who could mold younger players given his success with the Fighting Hawks.

In Philadelphia, Hakstol went 134-101-42 with a pair of first-round playoff exits over parts of four seasons. His fate as head coach became heavily ominous when former general manager Ron Hextall was suddenly fired in late November. After a disastrous road trip in December and with the Flyers (12-15-4) in last place of the Metropolitan Division, allowing the NHL's second-most goals per game (3.74), new general manager Chuck Fletcher relieved Hakstol of his duties.

"I came away tremendously impressed with Dave as a human being, but to my eyes, there was a disconnect between what he was preaching and how the players were playing," Fletcher said at the time. "As the leader of the team, that responsibility falls on him and I felt at this point, we needed a new voice.

"Dave tried, Dave was prepared, Dave's smart, Dave's a good coach."

Hakstol has the qualities that make you think he will be better off as an assisant coach at the NHL level. He is a detail-oriented, tireless worker.

"Dave Hakstol is one of the hardest-working people I know," Hextall said. "He's got a lot of respect around the league. You'd be shocked when I talk to my colleagues how much respect he has. He's a good coach."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers mascot Gritty works on his dad bod at Planet Fitness

Flyers mascot Gritty works on his dad bod at Planet Fitness

Did you think Gritty was going to be satisfied with winning the NHL Fan Choice Awards honor for best mascot?

Think again.

The guy is not resting on his laurels this summer. He's training hard for 2019-20. He was seen working up a sweat Tuesday at the Planet Fitness on Christopher Columbus Boulevard.


(Picture courtesy of NBC Sports Philadelphia's Todd Berman)

Rumor has it Gritty is working on his summer abs.

Or maybe not.

Regardless, the orange fella knows how to stay in shape. He's a preparation junkie, a true gym (and rink) rat. Complacency is not in Gritty's vocabulary.

He's also not breaking glass and scaring kids, so that's a positive.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Competition aplenty as under-the-radar depth piece Nicolas Aube-Kubel re-signs with Flyers

Competition aplenty as under-the-radar depth piece Nicolas Aube-Kubel re-signs with Flyers

There has been plenty of talk about the Flyers' bottom-six depth.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel should be in the discussion when training camp rolls around.

The Flyers re-signed the restricted free agent Tuesday to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000.

The 2014 second-round pick made his NHL debut last season and played a stretch of nine games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 17. He was a plus-1 with two shots in limited ice time (5:35 per game).

The 23-year-old winger is an intriguing piece to the Flyers' picture because of his speed and scoring ability, while also understanding a third- or fourth-line role. Over his last two seasons with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, Aube-Kubel has scored 34 goals and 76 points in 126 regular-season games. In his AHL career, he's a plus-35.

The Flyers have a job open for a bottom-six winger. Aube-Kubel will compete for a spot with guys like Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, Andy Andreoff and Kurtis Gabriel.

Fletcher has two more restricted free agents to take care of and they're big ones: Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny (see story).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers