FLYERS

Flyers have interest in ex-Hurricanes head coach: report

FLYERS

Nearly a month into the offseason, the Flyers' head coaching search seems to be ramping up. With a few prominent names swirling, fans might be dreaming of Barry Trotz in orange and black over the next couple weeks.

And while Trotz is certainly part of the picture, according to one prominent NHL insider the organization is eyeing a slightly-less-sexy name: Flames assistant coach Kirk Muller.

MORE: Flyers being diligent as head coaching interviews pick up

Here's what Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman had to offer on Wednesday's edition of his 32 Thoughts podcast:

"I do think there are people in the Philadelphia organization, and I would not be surprised if Bob Clarke was one of them, who are big on the John Tortorella train. I still do think they're a potential for [Barry] Trotz, and I still think Rick Tocchet's getting an interview there. 

"The guy I'd like to mention is Kirk Muller. I've heard that Philly is interested in Muller. I think also that Winnipeg is interested in Kirk Muller. Kirk Muller has been a head coach once before, people would like to hear what he's learned from that experience — but I'll say this about Kirk Muller too: people have looked at Calgary this year, and particularly the improved play of Lindholm down the middle, and they think that Muller has a lot to do with that, and some of the improvement of some of their forwards, particularly two-way players. I think that Kirk Muller is going to be in a few of these situations. I think Philly is going to be one, and I think Winnipeg is going to be another."

 

Very interesting. It sure sounds like, as Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in early May, that the organization is intent on taking its time and leaving no stone unturned.

Muller, 56, is an interesting option. His time as the Hurricanes' head coach was brief and disrupted, featuring the 2012-13 work stoppage. His teams went 80-80-27 in 187 games before he was fired after 2013-14 (a fittingly average mark if he's considered for the Flyers' job). 

Muller hasn't been a head coach in eight years, but in the interim he's been an assistant on teams that have gone deep in the postseason. In 2015-16 he was on a Blues team that reached the Western Conference Final; in 2020-21 he was a coach with the Canadiens team that reached the Stanley Cup Final (albeit after he was fired as part of Claude Julien's staff midseason); and this season his Calgary Flames are in the second round of the playoffs.

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If Winnipeg is interested in Muller, and there's mutual interest, the Flyers might be out of luck. The current situation in Philadelphia — not a ton in the prospect pipeline, not a ton to work on the current roster — isn't terribly attractive while there are six concurrent openings. Over at the Daily Faceoff longtime NHL reporter Scott Burnside ranked the Flyers dead last among of the six openings in terms of attractiveness to candidates, while the Jets were third.

Not ideal!

Earlier this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall detailed the current state of where else the Flyers are looking:

"The Flyers' diligent process appears to be picking up with a few veteran head coaching candidates.

"The club has interviewed John Tortorella, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Kevin Weekes first reported the news Tuesday.

"[...]

"The Flyers are meeting with Barry Trotz this week to discuss the head coaching job, according to a report last Saturday night by Sportsnet's Jeff Marek."

Things are certainly heating up, but we'll see if anything comes of all this chatter — or if it's off to another round of candidates.