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."

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

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

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

Alain Vigneault has 11 playoff berths on his résumé. He knows the requisites for a postseason club and the Flyers have failed to look like one in a key aspect.

"As a team that considers themselves a playoff team, you need to have a good road record," Vigneault said last month.

The Flyers do not through 25 road games. As stingy as they have been at home, they've been the polar opposite away from home. On the road, the Flyers are 10-13-2, have a minus-30 goal differential and are allowing the NHL's second-most goals per game at 3.80.

The figures above are a major concern and the Flyers must stem the tide over their final 16 road games. Vigneault's team still has two trips to Washington, D.C., two to Tampa Bay, Florida, two to Madison Square Garden and one more to Pittsburgh. Those matchups with the Capitals, Lightning, Rangers and Penguins will be stiff tests.

Speaking of the schedule, the Flyers are battling in the NHL's deepest division and have 14 games remaining against Metro teams. The Flyers are in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division (three points out of third place) but would be in first place of the Pacific Division.

The Flyers will be challenged the rest of the way and so, too, will their depth at forward. The Flyers are a middle-of-the-pack scoring club (15th in the NHL with 3.06 goals per game) and without Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

Is the team's youth in the bottom six enough for the playoffs and a competitive shot? Or will (and can) general manager Chuck Fletcher add at the Feb. 24 trade deadline?

Big questions and we'll have answers soon.

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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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